Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has welcomed the Minister for Local Government’s decision to formally refer the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council to the Local Government Boundaries Commission for assessment.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said she had directed the independent Boundaries Commission to hold a public inquiry as part of the process.

“I have made the decision following extensive public exhibition of the proposal which resulted in 1,017 submissions being lodged by the local community and council,” Minister Hancock said.

“The Boundaries Commission will now follow its own processes in accordance with the Local Government Act.”

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said this is a positive result after tirelessly pushing for a review since October 2017.

“It’s no secret I have been making representations to the highest levels of the NSW Government on behalf of the people in my electorate who are unhappy with this merger. I have been fighting for this outcome for 864 days,” Ms Cooke said.

“I want to thank Minister Hancock for making this decision to put this issue to the independent Boundaries Commission.”

“We now must wait for the outcome of this independent process and I want to thank everyone who took the time to make submissions, especially the Gundagai Council In Exile for their ceaseless advocacy on behalf of the local community. The Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council must be commended for their cooperation and service during this difficult transition period and their commitment to delivering services and infrastructure on behalf of all ratepayers in the amalgamated shire.”

The Boundaries Commission is required to have regard to a range of factors in assessing the proposals including financial advantages/disadvantages, the local
community and geographic cohesion, attitude of residents and ratepayers, and any impact on council operations and staff.

The Boundaries Commission will then provide the Minister for Local Government with statutory reports for consideration before she decides to recommend implementation of the proposals to the Governor.