CABONNE Council are tight-lipped about their submission to the Independent Local Government Review Panel.
Nanjing Night Net

While amalgamation was the hot topic for community members who attended a panel forum in Orange on Thursday, it was a closed topic for Cabonne general manager Andrew Hopkins. Mr Hopkins said he would not comment until he had been in the job for a couple of months. Mr Hopkins took up the position two weeks ago.

Mr Hopkins said council was concerned with issues of long-term financial sustainability. He said the panel made it clear amalgamation was not the only issue concerning rural local government areas.

“They made it very clear while there might be some [amalgamations] there are lots of other issues they [local governments] were struggling with,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said Cabonne Council presented a snapshot presentation to the review panel about the council’s sound financial position.

“We are in a very financially stable position and a lot of mayors from around the region defended our position,” he said.

He said while Cabonne were sustainable, a concern for all local governments was inadequate revenue streams. He said across the state, revenue had not kept pace with councils’ growing responsibilities.

“The job councils now have to do is beyond what they were originally established to do,” he said.

“There is an increase in the level of services and assets councils provide and the revenue stream needs to be appropriate for those increased levels.”

The panel asked councils to detail what challenges they had to meet over the next 25 years. Cabonne listed ensuring towns and villages survived and grew, developing ways to retain young people and ensuring council had the most relevant and efficient representation and governance to deliver the community’s future needs.

Mr Hopkins said council would provide a detailed submission to the panel by September 14.

The panel will report in July its recommendations for changes to the way local government works, including possible amalgamations.

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Long-term financial sustainability worries Cabonne Council more than amalgamation.

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