Community meeting will shape future of Gwydir Shire

May 28, 2015

The residents of the Gwydir Shire have been faced with the responsibility of deciding on the future of the shire.

A series of meetings began on Tuesday evening with a community meeting at Warialda. The second meeting will be held at the Roxy, Bingara on Thursday, with other meetings at Upper Horton on June 1, Coolatai on June 2, Croppa Creek June 7, Gravesend June 4, and North Star on June 9. All meetings are at 6.00pm.

All Councils in NSW have to submit proposals to the Independent Local Government Review Panel outlining how each Council is ‘Fit for the Future’. The deadline for this is June 30. A month is then allowed for public submissions on Councils’ Fit for the Future (FFTF) proposals.

Gwydir Council was presented with the option of merging with Moree Plains Council or standing alone, provided it joins the Namoi Joint Regional Organisation and can significantly improve its position before another review in 2019.

Meeting with Moree Neither Gwydir nor Moree Councils, which have held meetings at staff level, are in favour of a merger.

Gwydir Council’s General Manager, Max Eastcott told the Advocate the Gwydir and Moree Councils will meet on Thursday morning, where he expects a joint resolution confirming this will be passed.

Role of community Community attitude will play a large part in Council’s decision to keep Gwydir Shire. A meeting of community leaders and Council in Warialda last week worked on setting the framework to achieve Council’s goals.

One comment at the meeting was that the Gwydir community can ‘take’ or ‘make’ our future. Summing up his submission to the meeting, former president of Bingara and District Vision 2020, Garry McDouall said “It seems absolutely clear that in order for Gwydir Shire Council to successfully retain its independence, then it must have a strong and united community standing behind it. There can be no room for continual rivalry between Bingara and Warialda.

“That said, and in order to achieve this, any measures now taken or proposed to be taken in order to improve our shire efficiencies must be seen to be equitable in terms of their economic and social impact on both towns."