I welcome the Government’s announcement today that they will not force an amalgamation between Maitland City Council and Dungog Shire Council.
The amalgamation would not have made geographic or economic sense for either local government area.
Local government should be sustainable, efficient and capable, and each unit of local government should be defined by its community of interest. A merger with Dungog would have brought a massive infrastructure backlog, less financial stability, minimal savings over a twenty year period based on proposed government funding and no improvement to the customer service experience for either community.
The geographic distance would have worked against people in Maitland and Dungog truly becoming one local government area, and would have ended up with one or both communities disenfranchised in their ability to have a say in their future.
The Government’s back down will be warmly welcomed in the Maitland community.