MidCoast councillor Kathryn Bell notice of motion to September 22 council meeting

MidCoast councillor Kathryn Bell
MidCoast councillor Kathryn Bell

De-amalgamation or boundary changes for the MidCoast local government area?

Councillor Kathryn Bell, via a notice of motion to Wednesday's (September 22) council meeting, is asking for a report to be prepared to "canvass the desirability" of either of these actions. She further asks council's general manager, Adrian Panuccio, to provide the "best options for public consultation" in the report, to be presented to council's November meeting.

Cr Bell says in her notice of motion, a recent amendment of the NSW Local Government Act "provides that, within 10 years of the constitution of a new area, an amalgamated council for that area may submit a written business case to the Minister (for Local Government), setting out a proposal for the de-amalgamation of the new area, whether by reconstituting the former areas or constituting different areas."

The amendment in May 2021 was moved by Labor MLC Tara Moriarty who said at the time, "Councils that wish to de-amalgamate should be able to do so... They should be able to make a business case to separate if they have the support of their local communities."

Cr Bell says in her submission that Mid Coast has several population centres that are geographically more connected to other local government areas. For example she says the nearest regional centre for Tea Gardens, Hawks Nest and environs is Raymond Terrace in the Port Stephens Council.

"Whatever route may be taken by council, the minister has the final discretion on whether to proceed or not with any proposal," Cr Bell says, adding that should the minister choose the option to proceed, community input would be sought.