Gloucester agrees to grow with coast

GLOUCESTER’S ties to the North Coast are expected to grow with councillors accepting a State government realignment that will see the shire reclassified.

Cr Aled Hoggett

Cr Aled Hoggett

Last month the government released a draft of redrawn regional boundaries for NSW, creating 10 new regions.

Gloucester, which has previously been aligned with the Hunter, has been included in a huge new North Coast region, stretching north to the Queensland border and also incorporating the Great Lakes.

The new regions will be the basis for a new set of soon-to-be-created 20 year regional growth plans.

At last week’s monthly meeting of council, debate centred on whether the service provider should accept the new boundaries and what impact it would have on relationships with other councils. 

Gloucester is currently a member of both the Hunter and Mid North Coast regional organisation of councils (ROC) and there has been considerable debate about which organisation to stick with.

General manager Danny Green has advocated for the shire to cut its ties with Hunter Councils.

He said Hunter Councils provided strong support through its various business units but little in the way of shared resources, unlike MIDROC (Mid North Coast Regional Organisation of Councils).

“We don’t get the efficiencies from Hunter Councils that we would from MIDROC,” he said.

But councillors remain unconvinced.

It costs the shire $30,000 per year to be a member of MIDROC, which remains a relatively fledgling organisation. 

“I’ve been largely unimpressed with MIDROC,” Cr Aled Hoggett said.

“They’re still in the very early stage of development and the fact is we may or may not have a say about how the organisation develops.

“In saying that, I believe we have closer ties to the coast than we do to the Hunter but I think any decision about who we should choose would be premature.”

Councillors have resolved to remain a member of both ROCs for the immediate future. A motion to cut ties with Hunter Council was lost by a vote of four to three.