NSW local government a step closer to single representative body

Shires across New South Wales have agreed to form a single association representing local government in the state.

The Shires Association of NSW convened a special meeting on Wednesday to vote on its merger with the Local Government Association (LGA).

More than 150 representatives from 78 shires met in Sydney to finalise the 27 principles first agreed to at the Local Government and Shires Associations (LGSA) One Association Convention in August last year.

Shires Association president Bruce Miller said he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

“There was some terrific debate throughout the day, but right from the start, the general consensus for moving to one association was overwhelming,” Cr Miller said.

“It’s long been acknowledged that we need one voice representing Local Government in NSW, to effectively lobby the state and federal government on Local Government issues.”

Cr Miller said all shires present at the meeting were given a change to share their opinions, regardless of their population size or location.

LGA also endorsed the 27 principles, voting overwhelming in favour of the merger at their annual conference in Albury last October.

LGA president Keith Rhoades observed proceedings at the Shires Association conference.

“I was extremely pleased to witness the Shires Association members’ endorsement today,” Cr Rhoades said.

“This is a significant step in the timeline.”

Cr Miller said both Associations were “keen to push this matter forward

“In order to comply with federal legislation and Fair Work Australia requirements we will require further input, voting and discussion by both Associations throughout 2011,” he added.

Councils and shires are now considering a draft constitution for the new Association, which will require formal endorsement by all members of both associations at future annual conferences.

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