Coffs Harbour City Council chambers. Photo: Trevor Veale/The Coffs Coast Advocate.
Coffs Harbour City Council chambers. Photo: Trevor Veale/The Coffs Coast Advocate. Trevor Veale/The Coffs Coast Adv

Coffs and Clarence councils talk about working closely

AFTER being rated among the poorest performing local governments, the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour councils are looking to join forces.

Both councils failed to impress in an Independent Review of Local Government released on Wednesday.

Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson said CVC general manager Scott Greensill had talks with his counterpart at Coffs Harbour, Steve McGrath to look at ways both councils could handle issues at a regional level.

"The county council idea has been part of our discussions around the future of NOROC," Cr Williamson said.

"Both councils will stay as they are on local matters, but they're investigating if there's a structure that can allow them to work together to achieve regional outcomes."

Cr Williamson said Mr Greensill would present his report on these talks to the council before it made a submission to the Local Government Review in June. He said it was too early for the council to have formed an opinion on the review findings, but said if local government was serious about gaining constitutional recognition, it had to be "grown up" enough to take on board the review findings.

"Constitutional recognition will allow the Federal Government to directly fund local government," he said.

Yamba's Ray Hunt said the proposed county council idea would allow such bodies to employ people with the knowledge and experience to handle the problems facing local government.

"The Local Government Act is an example," he said.

"I doubt if many councillors have ever read it."

CVC should look at playing to the strengths of the region's major centres instead of playing them against each other.



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