Mayors and general managers from Bellingen, Kempsey and Port Macquarie-Hastings councils yesterday began a new model of regional collaboration and planning as the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation.
The inaugural meeting, held in Kempsey, follows the NSW government’s proclamation on May 15 of 11 joint organisations across regional NSW comprising of over 90 per cent of existing regional councils.
Newly elected Chair of the joint organisation Mayor of Kempsey Shire Council, Liz Campbell, said the new joint organisation will benefit the community.
“We look forward to working closely with the state government to make sure investment in infrastructure, services and facilities for this region’s communities is strengthened,” Mayor Campbell said.
“We are all facing similar challenges with aging infrastructure, increasing populations and the need to create employment and services to make our growth sustainable. It makes sense that we look at these big picture issues at a regional level.”
Ms Campbell also stated that other councils on the Mid North Coast who are not current members of the Joint Organisation would be welcome to join in the future.
“We have a successful history of working well across our regional network of councils over many years and the formation of a Joint Organisation is the next stage of this collaborative relationship with both Mid North Coast councils and the state government,” Ms Campbell said.
In a busy few months ahead, the new organisation will identify priority projects for the region and endeavour to secure government support for their implementation.
At its meeting tonight, Coffs Harbour City Council will again consider the question of whether to join the Mid North Coast JO.
The recommendation in the agenda document is that it “resolves to approve the inclusion of the Council’s area in the area of the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation”.
The other options being presented to councillors are:
“2. Reject the recommendation and continue to pursue Council’s current resolved position on the membership of a JO, comprising Clarence Valley Council, Coffs Harbour City Council, Bellingen Shire Council and Nambucca Shire Council, through making of representations to the Deputy Premier, the Minister for Local Government and local State Members. In taking this course of action Council needs to be mindful of the State Government’s current position and may result in Coffs Harbour City Council not having a seat at the table or potentially a voice on broader issues impacting the Mid North Coast Region.
“3. Reject the recommendation and not progress to be a member of a JO. This in effect would leave Council applying a watching brief to the matter. In taking this course of action Council needs to be mindful of the State Government’s current position and may result in Coffs Harbour City Council not having a seat at the table or potentially a voice on broader issues impacting the Mid North Coast Region.”