Friday, November 27, 2015

Submission presented to the Eurobodalla Shire Council in regards to the Rural Lands Strategy

The following is the submission presented to the Eurobodalla Shire Council in regards to the Rural Lands Strategy.

General Manager
Eurobodalla Shire Council
PO Box 99
Moruya NSW 2537

Dear Dr Dale
At their meeting on 15 October 2015 Eurobodalla Shire councillors resolved to place the Draft Rural Lands Strategy on public exhibition. This submission is the Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association’s (ERA) comment on the strategy.

Over three years ago ERA's campaign for the rejection of the draft rural LEP led to council’s appointment of the Rural Land Steering Committee with the task of providing the community with modern planning regulation for rural land. This committee has worked hard to reach realistic and workable solutions to the contentious issues - E3 zoning, extensive and inaccurate environmental overlays and unnecessary restrictions on farm sub-division and building entitlements.

ERA congratulate the committee on the outcomes, in particular the recommended non-use of the E3 zone, the sunset clause, the removal of the requirement to have a tar sealed council maintained road to be eligible for a building entitlement. These improvements should benefit many in the shire’s rural communities.

We note that the council’s consultant estimates that the committee's proposals agreed to date will allow approval of an additional 100 new rural blocks and 300 extra building entitlements.

Comments on the draft strategy
However, it appears that the inclusion of a new vegetation overlay is now proposed in the draft strategy. The ERA opposes the use of overlays in the Local Environment Plan and is surprised that this matter is addressed at all. We note that at its meeting on 22 July 2014 council resolved, on the motion of Councillors Brown and Innes, that “1. The Rural Land Strategy recommends that overlays not be included in the LEP………….” Apparently, the council’s consultant failed to get the memo advising him of this important client requirement!

In any event, ERA rejects the consultant’s argument that dropping the earlier proposed use of an E3 zone strengthens the need for a vegetation overlay as a helpful pointer to other legislated environmental restrictions. It is ironic that one reason given for this substitution is that it reduces the necessity for a higher level of map accuracy required for an environmental zone.

Given the extensive legislated controls on farming operations these days, farmers and buyers of rural land (and their advisers) need to exercise ordinary due diligence in discovering all the restrictions applying to rural land. This is best done by reference to the evolving primary legislation rather than by relying on inaccurate overlays forming part of prescriptive and rigid land use planning regulations.

Guidelines and “helpful suggestions” from bureaucrats have a habit of being turned into black letter law over time. Overlays are not legally required and not used by many NSW rural councils.

Additionally, the ERA recommends to council the removal from the LEP of all E zones, all references to biobanking and voluntary biodiversity agreements and rural landscape guidelines. We support smaller lot sizes than are proposed, lot size averaging and further housing entitlements on rural blocks. Councillor Liz Innes, a member of the Rural Land Strategy Committee, is aware of the details of ERA’s suggestions in regard to these matters.

Comments on the process
Given its extensive engagement with this process, ERA would like to make some general comments on its experience.

First, it has been apparent for some time that the task of revising a complex piece of government regulation is beyond the capabilities of council’s planning department. Andrew Constance has drawn attention to the long time, relative to other rural councils, that ESC has taken to complete the task. Clearly, there are economies of scale in legislative policy development. These should be identified in the current sea level rise policy development process, before it is too late.

Second, the community consultation has been excessive, repetitive and inefficient. Land owners and others resent being asked the same questions repeatedly, particularly when their answers are ignored.

Third, it is apparent that staff planners, planning consultants and some councillors have an ideological bias against recognising the foundations of productive, efficient and socially responsible farming – viz private property rights, minimum government interference in markets and incentives for private land owners to protect the environment. And council staff’s failure to recognise the impact of uncertainty in legislative frameworks on the operations of rural land markets was particularly noticeable. It was greatly disappointing that councillors with nominal liberal political values did not stand up for individual land owners against the insatiable, yet rarely properly specified, demands of the state to interfere with their private property.

Finally, consistent with ERA’s long standing concern for better governance and management at ESC, you are requested to convene and chair a public post mortem on this project to consider what went wrong and what you should do about it. Your predecessor, Paul Anderson, contemplated holding a post mortem at the end of the poorly managed Moruya-Deep Creek Dam pipeline project, but left before it could be organised.

Such a meeting would allow those people closely involved to express frank opinions on what went wrong and what was done well. It would enable you to clear the air, draw a line under the project and, hopefully, rebuild some of the public confidence you lost along the way. At the same time, you could present the community with the total costs of the project, including consultants’ fees, staff costs and RLS committee members’ costs. We would expect that final costs would also include an estimate of those costs, particularly lost production by farmers, that community members have borne in interacting with council.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment. We look forward to participating in a post mortem meeting

Yours sincerely
For Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association

Friday, November 13, 2015


At recent public meetings called by Eurobodalla Shire Council  to allow land owners to consider the draft Rural Land Strategy (RLS) attendees voted decisively to reject the proposed incorporation of a native vegetation overlay in the rural local environment plan.    Also, many farmers let council’s consultants know that they objected to the length of the process and the consultants’ failure to incorporate previous public comment in the strategy. Others said they resented the fact that they were being asked yet again to raise their concerns, which have been known to council’s planners for at least five years.
Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association spokesperson Councillor Liz Innes said, “Attendees could not have been clearer in their opposition to the use of the vegetation overlay in the proposed LEP.    No one spoke in support of its use and members of the RLS committee spoke against it.”
“ While the strategy deals with the major issues raised by farmers in the past – E3 zones, smaller minimum lot  sizes, and more housing entitlements  it fails to come to grips with the fundamental issue – the least costly way for farmers to comply with legislated environmental restrictions on their private land.  Remarkably, the consultant described a policy of protection of private property rights as “controversial” and likely to offend the planning bureaucrats“
“The ERA rejects the consultant’s argument that dropping the earlier proposed use of an E3 zone strengthens the need for a vegetation overlay as a helpful pointer to other legislated environmental restrictions.   It is ironic that one reason given for this substitution is that it reduces the necessity for a higher level of map accuracy required for an environmental zone. Given the extensive legislated controls on farming operations these days,  farmers and buyers of rural land (and their advisers) need to exercise ordinary due diligence in discovering all the restrictions applying to rural land. This is best done by reference to primary legislation rather than by relying on inaccurate overlays forming part of prescriptive and rigid land use planning regulations.’
Councillor Innes continued, “And given the farmers’ opposition to the consultant’s other proposals in the draft RLS I will be pressing the RLS committee to recommend to council the removal from the LEP of all E zones and overlays, all references to biobanking, voluntary biodiversity agreements and rural landscape guidelines. I will be supporting smaller lot sizes than are proposed and further housing entitlements on rural blocks. “
 “Farmers know from long experience that guidelines and “helpful suggestions” from bureaucrats have a habit of being turned into black letter law over time.  Overlays are not legally required and not used by many NSW rural councils”
Councillor Innes concluded “The views of the public meeting attendees were so strongly and clearly expressed that they must be acted on by councillors.  I call on Mayor Brown to bring the RLS process to a swift conclusion by supporting the immediate completion of the LEP in line with the community’s wishes. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mayor Brown needs to wait until full time before claiming stand alone victory.

ERA Newsletter - 2 November 2015

Mayor Brown needs to wait until full time before claiming stand alone victory.

Mayor Lindsay Brown's welcoming of IPART's recommendation that Eurobodalla Shire Council is "fit for the future" as a stand alone council is premature and goes right over the top. He has claimed that " ...the outcome of the IPART review is evidence that we are delivering value for money and operating efficiently" and that ".........there is no evidence supporting perceptions that Eurobodalla Shire Council is a "bad" council, or has poor management, or that it obstructs growth."

Apart from misrepresenting the IPART analysis, these claims are way out of line with the lived experience of the ratepayers of the shire. More importantly, they show an ignorance of government decision making.

IPART was given a very narrow, financially based, time constrained task by the government. It was not required to, nor did it, comment on council management. Its methodology has been widely criticised in the local government community and by a powerful all party committee of the NSW parliament. The parliamentary committee's first finding was that " ......IPART...... does not have the demonstrated skills or capacity to assess the overall "fitness" of councils as democratically responsible local bodies." This finding underlines the need for the government to take into account a number of other important matters, particularly the management competence of councils, in reaching its final decisions on amalgamations.

Our local member, Andrew Constance, has pointed out that ESC's history of past poor management requires it to engage genuinely with the FFF process and make a real effort in reform, including a proper discussion of amalgamation options with the community and our neighbouring councils. He has said that, notwithstanding the IPART advice, a merger of ESC with another council or councils remains in play. Regrettably, council pays as much attention to Andrew as it does to the community and has chosen to go its own way by resisting any serious examination of the considerable opportunities arising from these options.

The controversial way council formulated its fit for the future proposal, although ignored by IPART, has been brought to the government's attention by the ERA. In particular, we are unimpressed that council rejigged its forward financial estimates using accounting tricks to paint a much more optimistic picture than was advised to IPART and the community during council's very recent Special Rates Variation application. The fact that this sudden change of tack was not drawn to the community's attention is a public disgrace. Additionally, rather than attempt to meet the IPART specified scale and capacity requirements, council relied on an earlier and less detailed test applied by the Independent Local Review.

Mayor Brown has seriously misjudged the government's determination to effect real change through the fit for the future process. Other councils have been more responsive. For example, last week Wyong and Gosford councils agreed to commence merger talks, after previously proposing to go it alone.

Mayor Brown and his mates have left the community right out of the decision making process. Simply telling us that he has spoken to the mayors of Bega, Shoalhaven and Palarang councils and that together they oppose amalgamations doesn't cut it with ratepayers who know that no serious analysis of the options has been done. The proposed shared services memorandum of understanding with Bega is little more than last minute window dressing.

So Mayor Brown's view that IPART's recommendation is a ringing endorsement of his leadership and council's management is just wrong headed rhetoric. And his assertion that there is no evidence supporting perceptions of bad management is ironic given the way the council's fit for the future proposal was developed without public consultation.

Over the seven years of the ERA's life there has been considerable improvement in council's performance, but it is too early to claim that the shire's governance and management is operating at a level acceptable to the community. And the improvements cannot be reasonably attributed to the mayor's leadership. After all, he long opposed an early return to a balanced general fund budget before he was mayor and, more recently, in the SRV application.

Mayor Brown has wrongly and arrogantly claimed a premature victory in his quest to keep ESC's insular culture isolated from the modern world. He now runs the risk of having the NSW government impose politically determined boundaries on the shire when the real decisions are made later in the year.

2 November 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mayor appears to have "No Idea" regarding amalgamation

Eurobodalla Shire Councillors went behind closed doors at the Council meeting of 28th Oct 2015 to decide our fate about amalgamation. If you watch the webcast right near the end you will see that the Mayor could not even bring himself to say the word “amalgamation” in public; he called it “the other matter”. This is how determined our councillors are to exclude us from the conversation.

Prior to the meeting ERA asked all councillors and the Mayor two questions:

“The Minister for Local Government and the Premier of NSW have both declared that Councils will be merged. The Local Member Andrew Constance has recently flagged that at least Palerang Council is under consideration for merger with Eurobodalla. This is by definition the biggest event in the history of Eurobodalla Shire and as a Councillor of this Shire it would be expected that you have a point of view and an action or inaction plan for the ratepayers that you represent. We ask you the following question on their behalf:

Considering that there is $15 million for infrastructure projects such as aquatic centres and performing arts centres and $10 million which will only be given to councils who actively seek amalgamation, do you support sitting back and doing nothing and risk losing Eurobodalla’s share of $25 million? Will you continue to support ongoing special rate rises?”

As it is not unusual for the more arrogant of Councillors to ignore ratepayers’ enquiries when it suits them, we added an incentive to reply in that if there was no response we would publish their nil response as “No idea.”
Mayor Lindsay Brown: No idea; Clr Gabi Harding: No idea; Clr Danielle Brice: No idea. Certainly they have no ideas which they want to share with you the ratepayer.

As it turns out that may have been a good strategy. Clr Pollock ignored the questions and made some rambling response regarding the allocation of ERA preferences at the election over 3 years ago. Clr Schwarz responded with a bedtime story about the financial dealings of dental surgeries. He called his reply simple. Schwarz also demonstrated his total lack of understanding of the IPART report in the same way that Clr Burnside did in his reply.

Burnside, after lashing ERA and everyone else for only having “half the facts”, went on to make a complete fool of himself (as did Schwarz) by calling Palerang and Queanbeyan “basket cases” “crumbling bridges and roads” “unfit”. In fact IPART found both those Councils Fit in all categories including financially fit, bar one: scale and capacity; they are too small. Neither of them could have read the report. The concern for all ratepayers is that these two Councillors are prepared to make life altering decisions for others with little or no research, little or no understanding and arrogant incompetence. This alone makes amalgamation appealing.

ERA Councillors Innes and Leslight want this debate in the public arena. They do not want this shire forever dependent upon SRV’s. They support all of the potential benefits of amalgamation. They say it is up to the six councillors who whisper their decisions about amalgamation behind closed doors to prove why it is not one of the greatest opportunities for this long stagnating Shire. It is not good enough to say we are OK; we want to be the best we can be. The next fact shows what OK means.

FACT: In the last 5 years 2.6% population growth in Eurobodalla, yet 4.1% in NSW and 4.6% in same Group 4 Councils as ours. Yet this Council wants more of the same.

Ron Gifford - ERA

Councillor Schwarz reply:

Dear Mr Gifford

Let me put it to you as simply as possible.

Imagine one has a dentistry practice and the business is going well. In fact, recently you had an external consultant in and they told you that your business is fit for the future and you are serving your customer base well. Your finances are in good order, as are your assets. Then one day, someone from ERA (not sure who they are or what they represent these days) says that you should take on two other practices that lose money hand over fist, after they joined forces, whose assets are in disrepair, their books are a shambles and their customer base small but geographically big (9000 sq km with crumbling roads and bridges) and the people not happy. ERA thinks it is a fantastic idea to use the hard earned dollars of Eurobodalla shareholders to bail out two failed practices to the west on a vibe.

But if you take on these two new distant practices you may get a new backyard pool (above ground) thrown in, but your Eurobodalla shareholders (Mum and Dad) will have to service and maintain it, but in this case, let's just call it Palerang dentistry, has decided to stand alone and therefore Eurobodalla will not get the cheap pool.

Please oh enlightened ERA persons, please tell us where where the value is. Always on the lookout for a good deal.

Perhaps Clr Leslight will show us the way tomorrow. The Motion he is moving is really on the pace.

Clr Peter Schwarz

Clr Pollock reply
Hi Ron,I remember the fantastic deal you offered me at the last local govt. election, I am sure you remember- My second preferences for ERA 3rd preferences,so as a councillor with no idea ,please at least include this info as a prelude.

Clr Rob Pollock

Clr Burnside reply
Hi Ron,

Thanks for your email. Great to see you using tact and diplomacy in your usual artful way.

Your observation regarding Councils merging is correct. Last Tuesday, the Government released IPART's findings on the 'Fit for the Future' process which found about 2/3rd's of Councils didn't make it by their criteria.

Fortunately, Eurobodalla, along with our neighbours, Bega and Shoalhaven, originally deigned by the State to be 'stand alone' Councils, demonstrated that they conformed to the requirement to be fit, and are not being considered for amalgamation. This hasn't stopped us forging ahead with an MOU with Bega Shire to get more economies and use our close similarities to our mutual advantage. I heard Andrew Constance on the radio last week too, and noted that he's no longer looking at coastal Council mergers but is wanting us to look west to develop scale of operations.

Naturally, when he said that, our Mayor called his Palerang counterpart and was told that they were simply not interested in continuing the argument and would draw a line in the sand as a 'stand alone' Council, daring the State to sack them which they probably will do.

Funds from the State supporting amalgamations are made available to Councils which agree to merge, individually and collectively. No funds would be made available for us to merge with Palerang as they don't agree.

Palerang is a Council formed a few years back by amalgamating Braidwood and Bungendore, two financially unviable Councils, into one -- as it turns out -- great big unviable Council. It's a basket case -- small pop., huge road system (1400km of roads; 700 of them dirt - 30% of their budget spent just on them) small rate base and no money. What on earth would there be to gain by us taking them on? Bungendore and Queanbeyan are virtually commuter suburbs of Canberra and Braidwood has historic links -- educational; business etc. with Goulburn so there's absolutely no 'community of interest' either.

If you can form an argument that demonstrates that Eurobodalla and Bega ratepayers (also Bega State seat electors) would somehow be better joining with their unfit tablelands neighbours taking on a raft of problems that we simply don't have, then I'd love to hear it.

If, however, i don't hear from you in 48 hours I'll file your email under 'here goes Ron again armed with half the facts'.

Yours in tact and diplomacy,


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Eurobodalla Shire should consider looking West - Council Amalgamations.

Eurobodalla Shire should consider looking West - Council Amalgamations.

The Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association (ERA) wishes to advise that following the release of the IPART’S Fit for the Future results Eurobodalla Shire is now placed in a very exciting position.

As indicated by our local member Andrew Constance there are two Councils, Palerang and Queanbeyan to our west which have been deemed “unfit”. Both of these Councils have much in common and have shared interests with Eurobodalla.

More than thirty per cent of Eurobodalla rates are currently paid by the folks to our west; they choose to buy homes here and holiday on the South Coast. Our common interests include farming communities, rural and small businesses, tourism, and strong community interest in road safety on the Kings Highway; a combined effort would see the road vastly improved. Eurobodalla Council (ESC) is a member of the South East Region of Councils (SEROC), which includes Palerang and Queanbeyan.

The current, and previous Council, communicated the value of SEROC membership to ratepayers. These regions share our interests and would want to help build and share our future prosperity.
On ABC Local Radio, Member for Bega Andrew Constance continues to challenge councils in his electorate to think beyond being found ‘Fit for the Future’ to what they can do to ensure ratepayers get value for money and the services and infrastructure they deserve.
The answer seems clear. Eurobodalla Council has 30 days to broker a deal with Palerang and Queanbeyan to voluntarily merge. Council can then tap into the recently announced new Stronger Communities Fund, which provides each new council up to $15 million to invest in community infrastructure projects such as an Aquatic Centre or a Performing Arts Centre, and $10 million for each new council to ensure that ratepayers do not pay for the up-front costs of merging. This funding is only available to those mergers agreed to by councils and the NSW Government.

ESC cannot wait until amalgamation is made to happen and it is clear that the State government will amalgamate unfit councils with fit councils. ESC must approach the State government with a plan to amalgamate with Palerang and Queanbeyan or miss out on the money and opportunity.
 The ERA backs a merger between Eurobodalla, Palerang and Queanbeyan. It is an unexpected gift out of the ‘Fit for the Future’ process. It’s a chance to re-energise the shire, create jobs and opportunities for families and young people, and build better transport links.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mayor considers Capital Improved Value as an alternate to raise more rates

Mayor Lindsay Brown has indicated in his submission to the the NSW Legislative Council’s inquiry into local government his interest in considering a move away from land rates based on unimproved value to capital improved value, which refers to the total market value of the land and improved value of the property and that rate exemptions such as pensioner rebates should be reviewed for sustainability and equity

The ERA was surprised to learn that Mayor Lindsay Brown made a submission without any community consultation  to the NSW Legislative Council’s inquiry into local government.
You can find the full submission and the excellent Letter to the Editor (in full) by Kerry Foster on our ERA Media Release page:
Mr Mayor and Council:

When will community consultation start?

When will Council post a copy of Cr Brown’s statement to the NSW Legislative Council to the council website?

Will Council engage the community on the upcoming Review of Local Government Rates by IPART, and will Council inform the community that they too can make submissions?

Will Council ensure there is robust community debate about its proposition that rates are based on Capital Improvement Values?
The ERA Team

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Time For Change

Time for Change

Over the last few weeks the ERA have attended various public and council meetings. The public are demanding real change within the ESC. The public view the ESC as responsible for preventing the Eurobodalla from thriving. 

Unless ESC responds immediately with specific actions to address specific issues, in accordance with the demands of the ratepayers, then surely this Council will cease to exist in its present form.

We need new management at a high level at the council and we need it quickly. We insist that ALL the known blocks to economic growth are removed. We need all the bureaucratic and political red tape to stop. We need clear future direction and vision, driven by the community, articulated by the Mayor, who must lead for the community and cease being an apologist for the ESC.

The 10 key actions that we, the ratepayers of ESC require are:

  1. . Completion of the Rural Lands Review Strategy and an LEP within 3 months, amended to reflect the community demands ( “like for like” zoning, NO E zones or Overlays, no minimum lot sizes , no requirement for a council maintained sealed road and no sun-setting clauses on rural dwelling entitlements )
  2.  That Council review its SLR policy to the satisfaction of the those affected in the community 
  3.  An immediate reduction in non –essential services that we cannot afford and internal structural change / reduction in ESC staff that improves efficiency, to ensure that core essential services are provided. An external review of services is required.
  4.  Reform of the planning departments’ policies to attract development and facilitate home building 
  5.  Relaxation of blocks to developers and investors
  6.  Adopt strategies that attract funding for major developments and aggressively pursue infrastructure grant monies, and use those monies for their purposes WITHIN A DEFINED TIMEFRAME (e.g. The Spine Road)  
  7.  A concerted effort to get the population / rateable base UP in this Shire by attracting new business and people, and by making the shire an affordable place to live 
  8.  That ESC addresses infrastructure maintenance issues 
  9.   That council releases its FFTF document for community discussion before June 30th
  10.  That all senior personnel are on performance contracts and all other staff are on a productivity improvement scheme.
To implement this regime of change it is recommended that the ESC finds a suitably qualified individual   [number two to the GM] to oversee this program. This person must advocate for the community demands and drive effective change in almost all aspects of council business.

We will strongly advocate for State Government intervention if the ESC refuses or fails to comply.

Sincerely the ERA Team

Chart: According to this information from IPART, ESC’s Full Time Equivalent staffing cost is about $6MILLION above the Group 4 average and about $7.5MILLION above the State average.

When Consultant / Contractor costs are added, ESC appears to be about $4.5MILLION above both the Group 4 and State averages.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Fit For the Future Update

Fit For the Future Update

Many Shires across NSW are verging on financial non sustainability and the time has come to reckon with the facts.

For many years now, the ERA has been trying to get the ESC to confront a reality that they continue to ignore.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal  (IPART) has been engaged by NSW Government to assess whether ESC is Fit for the Future. IPART has written to the ERA inviting us to make a submission, and we are now asking the Eurobodalla ratepayers and residents for their views.

Some background beforehand:

On June 30th this year, the NSW government will be making a decision on what form the future ESC local government will take. If you are unaware of this, it is because our council has failed to engage the community early enough to bring residents and ratepayers with them on this important journey. Many other Shires, by contrast, have engaged early and actively with their affected communities to ensure that their residents are fully informed and involved in the process. 

By the 16th of October this year, the NSW Government, based on the assessment of Eurobodalla Council by IPART, will have made a decision about the financial viability and ongoing sustainability of the Eurobodalla Council as a local government entity.  

The conversation before June end, and October the 16th must NOT be just between IPART and Council staff and Councilors behind closed doors.

The ERA has been demanding a major external efficiency review for some years. A review that is open, transparent and above all honest. Council has lost the communities trust to honestly and critically review itself.

Currently, ESC has admitted that it will fail the long term IPART criteria fitness tests that relate to operating performance and own source revenue. IPART will propose in their report that if these benchmarks are not met within five years, then the ESC may not be viable.

Even if IPART grant approval of the 21% SRV application to the Council this month, the next increase application in three years’ time will have to be considerably higher for the council to reach its financial targets. That money will once again come from already burdened ratepayers who can ill afford these rate rises. We are nowhere near ‘Fit for the Future.’ 

Our ability to fund Infrastructure has been rated as poor. There is a real problem when Council are given $11 million to finish the Spine Road in early 2014 and the Council responds saying they may be able to start the project in the latter half of 2016!

There are, however, other ways of meeting these benchmarks. Council could dramatically reduce its 120 plus delivery operations to just a core number of programs – remember the good old days of Rates, Roads, and Rubbish?  This is what the Community told ESC via the Micro-mex community surveys not so long ago. 

On 16 October, there could be 4 possible verdicts that will change our local government:

  1. We remain a Shire in our own right but implement significant structural changes to ensure that we meet the benchmarks for sustainability. E.g.:    We could reduce the number of service delivery programs that now stand at over 120. (Should we really be showing people how to cook and walk, building worm farms, and learning how to ride a motor bike?)
  2.  We could dramatically reduce indoor staff numbers.

  3.  We merge all / part of Eurobodalla Shire with either / both Shoalhaven or Bega Valley Shire 

  4.  We enter into Joint Organization arrangements with neighboring Shires in an attempt to reduce operating costs -e.g. we could radically reduce costs by amalgamating many of our backroom services with other councils e.g. IT services.

The community need Eurobodalla Shire Council to lead the discussion on this. The ERA are listening, writing and organizing, but nobody at ESC seems to be interested, unless you read a weak article about the subject published by the Bay Post.

Surely, by now, the Mayor and Council should be organizing community meetings. The three casual drop in sessions at local markets and malls are not public consultation and Council is not taking any public submissions on the matter.

There is to be a meeting on May the 9th in the Bay to discuss many of these issues, organized by a group of concerned Batemans Bay citizens. The ERA will be attending to listen to people’s views.

However let us have your comments on WHAT YOU WANT to happen to your council ASAP and we will include them in our Submission to IPART. This has to be completed by the third week of May.

Sincerely the ERA team