Tamworth Region Local Councils Amalgamation
The Hon. JENNIFER GARDINER: My question is directed to the Minister for Local Government. Did Tamworth City Council, together with Manilla, Nundle and Parry councils, agree that in the event of the creation of a regional council it would be named Tamworth Regional Council? Will the Minister explain why he has ignored those councils, and announced the creation of a council named Peel Regional Council? Does the Minister claim amalgamations will produce savings? How will that save these councils money, given that they have been working for a year to set up the Tamworth Regional Council, organising letterhead, a new council seal and stationery that refers to the Tamworth City Council? Why has the Minister decided that those areas will have only nine councillors when the four councils advised him that they need at least 12? What does the Minister say in response to the former Tamworth mayor, who said "We were told that if we co-operated we would get what we wanted or most of what we wanted," and that the people of Tamworth region had been "lied to" and that it was a disgrace? Given that the Minister has split Barraba, what does he say in response to the mayor of Barraba, who suggests that the decision has shattered her community?
The Hon. TONY KELLY: They got most of what they wanted. In relation to the fact that the name is somewhat different temporarily, when the new council is elected it can choose its own name. That will be matter entirely for the new council. The name referred to was the name recommended by the commission.
The Hon. Melinda Pavey: What about the number of councillors?
The Hon. TONY KELLY: Generally speaking, nine councillors is plenty. How can the Hon. Melinda Pavey suggest that a council with 50,000 or 60,000 people should have 12 councillors when Blacktown council—that is, an area in which one in 70 Australians live— has only 15 councillors for 280,000 people?