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Mid-Western risks being left in the cold

Mid-Western Regional Council’s decision to pull out of the Central Region Organisation of Councils (Centroc) should surprise no-one, given the council’s rocky track record with regional organisations.
Nanjing Night Net

The role of joint regional councils is to encourage councils to work together on regional strategic planning, liaise with the state government and advocating for the wider region.

Mid-Western Regional Council was a member of Centroc until 2008, when it resigned for reasons including Centroc’s failure to support Mid-Western Region Council when Carcoar saleyards changed its cattle sale day to the same day as Mudgee’s.

Mid-Western flirted with the idea of joining the Orana ROC, centred on Dubbo, but instead joined Hunter ROC on the basis that it had more in common with the mining towns of that region.

The State Government’s “Fit for the Future” decreed that Mid-Western Regional Council should rejoin Centroc which after some protests, it did.

Now 18 months later, Mid-Western Region is flouncing off again, arguing that Centroc has not given this region’s projects high enough priority.

As well as Mid-Western Regional Council, Centroc covers Bathurst, Blayney, Boorowa, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Oberon, Orange, Parkes, Upper Lachlan, Weddin, Young and Central Tablelands Water.

The Mid-Western Region has strong ties with this area in health services, education, the roads network and transport, as well as overlapping state, and soon federal, government boundaries.

The Hunter Region includes Cessnock, Gloucester, Dungog, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter and Lake Macquarie. Apart from mining, it would seem that Mid-Western Regional Council has little community or interest in this group, in which it will be a small fish in a very large pond.

The role of joint regional organisations is to advance the wider region, not any single council in it. If Mid-Western Region keeps storming out of every party, it runs the risk of not being invited to anyone’s party and to being left in the cold when important regional decision are being made.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.