The decision to extend the administration of Central Darling is an outrage against local democracy, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said today.
Clr Scott was speaking after Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock issued a statement announcing the State Government would extend the administration of the far western council by four years, postponing local government elections until at least 2023.
“Central Darling Shire was put into administration in 2014, which means residents will have gone nearly a decade without having a say in the future of their community,” she said.
“This is a very real concern, particularly when you consider the current drought and the ongoing debate over the distribution of water in Menindee and NSW.”
Central Darling Shire is the largest Shire in NSW and yet has the smallest population.
It covers 53,511 square kilometres – almost the size of Tasmania – but has a population of less than 2,000 people.
In 2014 when the council was placed in administration it had an overdraft of $3 million and an annual rating income of around $1 million.
Necessary expenditure was estimated at around $20 million, with much of that needed to maintain a massive road network that was 96 per cent unsealed.
“The challenges – and those facing all councils in the remote west of the state – cannot be overcome by the removal of democratic representation.
“It is time the NSW and federal governments admit that sustaining the far west communities and others like them involves increased and ongoing financial support.”
Central Darling Shire includes the towns of Ivanhoe, Menindee, Wilcannia, and White Cliffs.
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