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Council amalgamations

Dungog Chronicle Letters to the Editor

The mooted Dungog / Gloucester amalgamation model was a surprise to me and to many. While objections are valuable, so too is discussion on how to ensure that what the government seems determined to enact will make Dungog and Gloucester ‘fit for the future’.

Reading the now-published government case, and viewing the maps, reinforces the importance of considering inclusion of Stroud and the Karuah Valley to physically join Gloucester and Dungog.

Population and rating have popped up as other issues, and there are many more. An overarching amalgamation goal of state government is to increase population of shires. With that in mind,  14,000 is better than 6,000 or 8,000. But including the Karuah Valley means 16,000, and that’s better still.

Great Lakes with 37,000  and Maitland with 73,000 are more fortunate.

Rating differences are small and I would suggest are of no real consequence to amalgamation. Using 2014 figures, Maitland raised $526 per resident, Great Lakes $806, Gloucester $725 and Dungog $549.

However, I suggest the most important factor in helping Dungog / Gloucester become ‘fit for the future’ will be cultural cohesiveness. Great Lakes Council has demonstrated the importance of cohesiveness through its achievement of ‘fit for the future’ status. Strong cohesive leadership has been a hallmark with Great Lakes in recent years.

Setting up a new inland shire and leaving its geography with a gaping gap in the middle, right up onto the Barrington Tops, will mean that seeking cohesiveness between two physically separated communities will be much more difficult.

Add the Karuah Valley, then Dungog and Gloucester are joined as a homogenous whole.

The April storms showed how well Dungog and Stroud and Gloucester communities work together.

A new inland shire unified geographically and culturally would deliver a cultural cohesiveness and a population / financial scale that will be very important to it becoming ‘fit for the future’.

And surely the state would provide funds to help Great Lakes with the changeover.

Brian Eastoe

Article courtesy of the Dungog Chronicle:

Gloucester Council

For those wanting to know more and engage in a community discussion Gloucester Council is holding a meeting tonight. Gloucester council will present the details of the proposal and counter points to enable a balanced understanding.

WHERE | Gloucester Soldiers Club – 32 Denison Street, Gloucester
TIME | 6pm to 8pm



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