Cabonne Council has been deemed “not fit for the future” by the IPART Report which was released on Tuesday. The sole reason for this final assessment was due to the scale and capacity criteria, which focuses on the population forecast for the next 20 years. Cabonne Mayor Ian Gosper said the Council has until November 18 to provide any further considerations to the Government.
“I don’t see how we can change it,” said Mr Gosper. “We only failed on one benchmark and that was Scale and Capacity, and we can’t reach that because we are a rural area.”
Member for Orange Andrew Gee said that IPART’s assessment of Fit for the Future Proposals was disappointingly light on meaningful analysis as to why Cabonne and Orange Councils should merge. “IPART dealt with why Cabonne did not meet the ‘scale and capacity’ criteria in just four dot points. It’s hardly enough to warrant Cabonne merging with Orange,” Mr Gee said.
“For a report that was built up so much, it was really weak.” “I do not support a forced amalgamation between Cabonne and Orange Councils,” Mr Gee concluded.
Amalgamation No Thank You (ANTY) spokesperson Marj Bollinger wants to know how the voices of the people can be ignored. “The millions of dollars that have been spent to date on the Fit for the Future process that was flawed from the beginning, set up by the Government to arrive at the conclusion they wanted could have had far more community benefits had it been spent on infrastructure improvements,” Marj said. “It seems most councils have failed the ill-defined ‘scale and capacity’ criteria.” “Scale and capacity seems to be predominantly based on population growth. If in the opinion of the report, Cabonne has failed to meet the population growth benchmark as a standalone Council, how can it possibly grow if jobs are shifted to major centres? Our villages will die,” said Marj. 139 proposals from 144 councils in NSW made a submission to IPART to either merge or standalone. From those proposals a mere 52 councils were found to meet the criteria to be deemed “fit” and 15 councils in the Central West were deemed “unfit”, including Orange City Council, Wellington Council, Blayney Shire Council, Forbes Shire Council and Weddin Shire Council. Bathurst Regional Council, Dubbo City Council, Parkes Shire Council and CowraShire Council were among the councils in the Central West who were assessed as “fit for the future”.
Cabonne Council have decided to sit on the decision and wait for further information from the local government Minister.