Hello and welcome to your new column, Merger Watch.
Now, we know its not all done and dusted as far as Council mergers are concerned. The Supreme Court is yet to decide on the Woollahra case and Cabonne might yet appeal to a higher court.
But we can’t be too careful can we. Already there is evidence that merged councils are being dudded. For example, see page 2 where Cabonne’s ANTY Group point out that, already, Wellington and Dubbo may have missed out on half a million dollars of damaged road grants, simply because they are now one merged council.
So, while I’m not giving up yet – I also reckon its best to be prepared and on guard, right? (This is known as the Michael Hayes Principle).
If the merger happens we will need to be vigilant that the spoils (i.e. the $20 million gift from the State Government) are spread fairly, won’t we.
We will also have to make sure that Cabonne’s hard earned savings, reaped over decades from local ratepayers, and the council’s lack of any substantial borrowings, are not swallowed up elsewhere while our towns and villages languish.
I know that we will have to keep an open mind – but not so open that our brains fall out. I can’t imagine that a merger of Orange, Cabonne and Blayney will look like this…