Members of the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) have voted to form a single group.
Instead of two separate groups under the banners of the Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW, members voted in favour of forming a combined group.
This amalgamation comes after nine years of discussion and debate to merge the two associations to effectively lobby the state and federal governments on local government issues.
Members of the Shires Association voted 59 – 13 in favour, while the Local Government Association of NSW voted 161 – 53.
Shires Association President, Ray Donald said the decision had taken a long time and involved much consultation.
President of the Local Government Association of NSW, Keith Rhoades said the merge will increase the credibility of local government in NSW.
Mr Rhodes said the association will be broken up into a metropolitan/urban region and a rural/regional region to ensure fair representation of councils’ interests regardless of geographical location.
“When voting at conferences, each region will have an equal number of votes, distributed proportionally among member councils within each region according to population, and all member councils will receive a minimum of one vote,” Mr Rhodes said.
The amalgamation will most likely happen in early 2013, as administrative steps will be taken with Fair Work Australia and the NSW Industrial Registry.
After the merge, an interim board will take over from the current shires association and LGA Executive Boards until all members gather for their first conference in the one association.
According to the LGSA, members will vote on who should be appointed to the association executive board and the first president in the first conference.
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