Armidale Regional Council has welcomed an announcement the State Government would move quickly on its consideration of a proposed transfer of Tingha to the Inverell local government area.
The NSW Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, yesterday announced the Minister for Local Government, Gabrielle Upton, had referred the proposal directly to the Office of Local Government for a recommendation on the proposed boundary realignment.
Mr Marshall said the Minister could have referred the matter to the NSW Electoral Commission for review. However, that process would probably have taken longer and was not the chosen option in this instance, after the community and both the affected councils had indicated their support for the realignment.
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray and Inverell Mayor Paul Harmon joined Mr Marshall for yesterday’s announcement in Inverell.
The proposed boundary shift would transfer the Tingha township and surrounding properties from the Armidale Regional Council area to the Inverell area.
Mr Marshall said he hoped the Minister could receive a recommendation before Christmas.
Councillor Murray said Tingha is a valued part of the Armidale region but Council recognised there is strong community support for the realignment.
In 2016, the Tingha Citizens Association started a push for the transfer, saying Tingha had a greater community of interest with the Inverell council area.
Armidale Regional Council consulted with the community in 2017 and conducted more comprehensive engagement in 2018, to ensure all households and property owners in the targeted area had opportunity to provide input on the proposal.
A large response to a postal ballot by Council showed a majority of residents supported the transfer.
“It will be sad to see them go but there is clearly majority support for the move and Council can see there are many ways in which Tingha residents have closer ties with Inverell,” Cr Murray said.
“Council respects the sentiment of the community and strongly backed the realignment in our recommendation to the Minister.
“If the Minister does approve the boundary change, it could still be some time before the transfer is completed.”
He said the State Government and both councils would need to take a number of steps to prepare for the realignment and at this stage it was unclear how long that could take.
Published on 25 Sep 2018