An ongoing saga spanning almost a decade finally ended for Tingha today.
NSW Governor David Hurley has proclaimed the village will be no longer part of Armidale Regional Council and will join Inverell Shire Council.
From July 1, the township and surrounding district, covering almost 800 square kilometres, will become part of Inverell’s local government area (LGA).
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, Armidale regional mayor Simon Murray and Inverell shire mayor Paul Harmon met in Tingha today to share the news with community members.
To ensure a smooth transition with rates and accounting, the new financial year was seen to be the easiest date for the adjustment to take place.
Cr Harmon said the majority of a community had asked for it, and the two councils had worked together to uphold their wishes.
“I want to thank Simon and the team at Armidale Regional Council,” Cr Harmon said.
“This wouldn’t be a smooth transition if we weren’t sitting around the table, talking collectively and looking at the wishes of the greater community.
“I believe local government is strong on being a government for the people, and this is a way of us showing other councils around the state how we can work together for a positive outcome for the community.”
Tingha was part of the now-defunct Guyra Shire Council until May 2016, when that council became part of Armidale Regional Council.
Local resident and former Guyra shire councillor Audrey McArdle marked it as an “historic day for Tingha”.
“I know a few people are not happy we are going to Inverell, but I know in the long run it is going to be best for us all,” she said.
Tingha Citizens Association president Colleen Graham said the announcement was an answer to many prayers.
“I want to thank both councils. I know the work that was put in behind the scenes, especially with all the surveys done to see how the community really felt,” she said.
“It’s like a weight has been lifted off us, and we appreciate it.”
Mr Marshall said he was pleased to bring to a close a “fairly lengthy and protracted process”.
“Back in 2016 an assessment was first done, then joint proposals were put in between two councils, a lot of meetings, surveys of residents, and plenty of discussion in between then and now,” he said.
“I’m thrilled the joint proposal to relocate Tingha to Inverell’s LGA has been proclaimed by the NSW Governor.
“It’s a commonsense decision reflecting the community of interest and its long association and history with Inverell.”
Mr Marshall said the shift was mostly about providing certainty to the Tingha community and its surrounding districts.
Looking back at government records, the MP said it was quite an unusual boundary adjustment due to the size.
“We often see adjustments to one or two properties, but the scale of this adjustment is huge. It’s a credit to both councils for making the transition go smoothly,” he said.