Mayor debates mergers: Laird fights for shires

THE mayor of Carrathool shire has met with the state government to plead his case against an amalgamation with Griffith.

The latest report into council efficiency by the Local Government Review Panel suggested disbanding both the Carrathool and Murrumbidgee shires and combining them with Griffith.

But in a meeting this week, Carrathool mayor Peter Laird told the Minister for Local Government Don Page councils needed to work more collaboratively but an amalgamation was not the answer.

"Local councils are the backbones of these communities," Cr Laird said. 

"They are often the first port of call for residents in difficulties and provide other services such as childcare, aged care, medical, Centrelink, and roads and maritime services. 

"In some cases they take on short term delivery of services such as banking, post offices, after school care and education.

"They are generally the largest employer and provide the stable workforce for the support and continuance of community organisations."

Cr Laird argued how important local councils were to the 42 per cent of the state residing in the remote Western Division. 

The talks come ahead of a meeting in Cobar on February 12, when the 13 members of the Western Division councils of NSW will discuss their futures with Mr Page.

The councils will then have until March 7 to submit their opinions of the report before any laws are passed. 

Mr Page was reportedly keen to listen to suggestions from the Western Division councils and was looking forward to hearing proposals which would provide leadership in the future. 

The minister will also attend the Western Division annual conference in Hillston on March 3.

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