A REGIONAL NSW council super-group instigated by Tamworth mayor Col Murray is beginning to take shape.
Councils in Armidale and Albury, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour have voted to join the yet-to-be established Regional Cities NSW group which was first floated at the end of 2017.
Tamworth Regional Council invited 15 other councils to join the group which was aimed at “building a sustainable New South Wales through regional growth” and has set a quota of nine members to establish the group.
Councils which choose to join up to the lobby group will have to pay an annual $10,000 membership fee.
Cr Murray was reluctant to comment on the influx of obliging councils voting in favour of joining the group, but he said more would be revealed later in the month.
“We are proposing to have some discussion on it when we get together for the Local Government NSW conference in Albury,” he said.
When Cr Murray first floated the the idea publicly he said it wouldn’t undermine or duplicate the work of pre-existing collaborations like Evocities, the Country Mayors Association and Local Government NSW.
While Armidale Regional Council opted to join the super-group, it had one detractor in former administration Ian Tiley.
“We have Local Government NSW, we have Country Mayors Association, we have the New England Joint Organisation, we have Evocities, we have the Association of Correlated Cities, we have the Inland Forum – and I'm sure I'm missing a few,” he said.
“Membership fees for those, and all the others I can't recall off hand, is significant.
“I've witnessed many of these types of organisations spring up over the last 50 years, and many no longer exist.”
The group’s short term agenda includes recommendations on divvying profits from the Snowy-Hydro sell off and a population strategy.
The councils invited to join regional Cities NSW include: Albury, Armidale, Bathurst, Cessnock, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Griffith, Lismore, Maitland, Orange, Greater Taree, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Tweed, Queanbeyan and Wagga Wagga