From Hilltops Councillor – Brian Ingram

Written by: Brian Ingram

 Hilltops Mayor Brain Ingram

Hilltops Mayor Brian Ingram

I recently attended a round table discussion regarding the financial sustainability of Local Government and the financial and social issues affecting merged Councils.

This discussion was hosted by Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council who invited all Mayors and Councillors from surrounding merged Council’s. Cost shifting from the State Government and the areas that Local Government are now responsible for makes things very difficult for local Councils as these efforts return zero profit and drain Council’s coffers. Union representatives were present at the discussion and confirmed to all present that the effects on the wellbeing of staff is not to be underestimated and is a significant problem in all merged Councils. There is to be an amendment put to parliament to make the process of demerging less complicated and to ask the State Government to fund the initial costs. This was planned for next month. I see in today’s Sydney Morning Herald (6 February 2024) that the State Government is going to attempt to get in front of that amendment and are going to put an amendment in that has two major differences. One is that the process will remain complicated and two is that the local Councils must fund any demerger. Regardless of amendments, the financial sustainability of merged Council’s remains a huge issue that must be addressed.

Also relating to the State Government, I was happy to hear yesterday that Rose Jackson, Minister for Water, has announced funding toward the investigation and costing into the Boorowa pipeline. This work will include detailed geotechnical investigations, concept design, environmental assessments and approvals and cost estimates. All of which are needed to have the project “shovel ready”. Securing a safe and sustainable water supply for Boorowa has been on the agenda for many years and was a priority project during my time as Mayor. While this is a great step forward and couldn’t have come at a better time with Boorowa now in the third week of a Boil Water Alert, the major hurdle will be getting State and Federal Government to put up the cost of construction which is likely to be over $50 million.

I am pleased that the tender for Rockdale Road works has been released. I look forward to the tender being awarded and the work being undertaken as soon as possible. I have been pushing this project for a long time, so I am very keen to see it come to fruition for the benefit of the community.

Council’s outdoor staff will be busy given the rain we have had and the amount of unmowed areas that Council is responsible for. The maintenance of our towns and villages, and especially town entrances, is very important for residents and visitors and the overall wellbeing of everyone. It should be a priority of Council at all times.

- Brian Ingram

Hilltops Council

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