Approved for release by: Anthony McMahon
Date for release: 30 March 2016
Media Contact: Wendy Tuckerman
BOOROWA RESIDENTS RECEIVE COMMUNITY INFORMATION PACK REGARDING BOOROWA-YOUNG MERGER PROPOSAL
As part of Boorowa Council’s “Boorowa Says No!” Campaign, residents will this week receive a community information pack, which provides important details on the Governments proposal to merge Boorowa with Young Shire Council alone, without the inclusion of Harden Shire Council.
“We are urging community members to read this package carefully, as the consequences of mergers may have impacts for the whole community,” said Boorowa Mayor Wendy Tuckerman.
“We want people to know that they are not helpless in the face of this merger of convenience and that there are two key ways you can be involved in shaping the future of your local Council,” Mayor Tuckerman said.
“Boorowa Community members can attend a Public Inquiry meeting on Tuesday, April 5 at Boorowa Ex-Services Club from 6pm and submit a written proposal by 15 April using a useful template included in the information pack.”
“It is very important to reiterate that no decision has been made on any of the mergers proposed to date and the Government will be assessing each of the mergers at the same time which still includes the proposal to merge Boorowa, Harden and Young” said Mayor Tuckerman.
Residents who would like to attend are requested to register at www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au or by contacting 1300 813 020.
Residents who would like to speak at the public inquiry are requested to indicate that they wish to do so when they register to attend.
“I want to make it clear that this is not about having anything against Young, it is firmly about getting the best outcome for our own communities and our strong and growing region,” Mayor Tuckerman said.
Key Points from the Community Information Pack
- The NSW Government has projected savings for a Boorowa & Young (BY) merger by streamlining Senior Management Roles; these projections forecast gross savings of $4m over a 20-year period. These projected savings compare very poorly to the potential saving of $13.75m in senior management roles, which can be achieved with the government’s original three-way merger proposal of Boorowa, Harden & Young.
- In a Boorowa-Young merger the impacts of aligning rates structures are major and will take an extended period to align. In some categories rates will go up a considerable amount and others down. The impact on aligning rating structures will be significantly less in a Boorowa-Harden-Young merger because Boorowa and Harden are more closely aligned.
- The Government’s financial assessment of a Boorowa-Young merger states there is a potential to save $4m net over a 20-year period. This equates to an average of $200,000 per year. Boorowa and Young had a combined net operating loss before capital grants in the 2014/15 financial year of $518,000. Projecting this forward, even with the savings touted by the Government the new Boorowa-Young Council would lose $318,000 per year.
- The three Hilltops region councils of Boorowa-Harden-Young are members of the Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CBRJO), aligned within the NSW Department of Planning South East regional boundary (as a sub-region), and clustered for integrated health service delivery by the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (NSW Health). In addition the three communities have shared library, town planning, weeds management and RFS services.
- The three communities have a range of local sporting alignments particularly at a junior level including soccer and junior rugby league.
- By following through with the second merger proposal of only Boorowa and Young, the NSW Government is effectively dismantling a regional brand of national significance. Boorowa and Young will maintain a strong alliance with Canberra, however, Harden will be required to strengthen ties with the Riverina if merged with Cootamundra and Gundagai; and splitting Harden’s regional focus will only serve to weaken its economic potential within the Hilltops alliance.
- In a merger of Boorowa-Young there is a risk that diversity of representation may deteriorate due to the balance between urban and rural population in the Young Local Government Area (i.e. there is a greater urban population compared to rural in Young).
- A merger of Boorowa-Harden-Young would create greater career progression opportunities and career pathways for employees than a Boorowa-Young merger alone.
- Young has greater than four times the population of Boorowa meaning that under a ward system Young would always have greater than four times the number of Councillors than Boorowa.
To the NSW Government’s “Merger of Convenience” the community of Boorowa says No!
Wendy Tuckerman (02) 6380 2000