Alliances the way to go, says Miller

By Staff Writer

The Shires Association (SA) of New South Wales has called on member councils to form alliances to deliver sustainable water and sewerage services.

Members of the SA met in Sydney to discuss the State Government’s response to recommendations made in the Inquiry into Secure and Sustainable Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Services for Non-Metropolitan NSW.

SA president Cr Bruce Miller said the proposed alliance model was the best strategy for most NSW councils.

“The alliance model will help councils to share resources and technical capacity and meet best practice management requirements,” Cr Miller said.

“Alliances will help us to achieve all of this in a sustainable manner, and include enough flexibility to allow individual councils to respond to local conditions and community needs.

“Very importantly, it also leaves local government with control and ownership of the utilities.”

Cr Miller said local government would need to overcome a number of issues surrounding water and sewerage infrastructure and plan for regional water resource supply.

“A governance model will help with these planning issues,” he said.

“We need to face the effects of drought and make sure we are drought proofing our communities as much as possible and we must overcome the problems that come with ageing infrastructure.”

Cr Miller said there would be greater demand for skilled and specialised staff to deal with the increasing environmental requirements.

“Alliances will allow us to address those issues, by strengthening our strategic planning and sharing resources such as staff and equipment,” he said.

The Association welcomed the decision of a number of larger councils, who were in a position to stand alone, to enter into alliances with smaller, surrounding councils.

NSW Minister for Water Phillip Costa is expected to introduce the legislative framework for the alliance model to be trialled by local government.

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