OBERON Council has been promised help in its rates and road repairs challenge.
And the promise has come from an organisation with clout: Central NSW Councils (Centroc).
Centroc’s executive officer Jenny Bennett made a presentation at Oberon Council’s ordinary meeting last week that also covered the need for better transport over the Blue Mountains.
"I know Oberon faces a very challenging rate task for road repairs as a huge per cent of its land is unrateable as Forestry Corporation NSW and National Parks and Wildlife,” Ms Bennett said.
“Centroc recognises this burden and we will work with council to take this to the state government.”
Ms Bennett acknowledged that Oberon Council was an important employer in its community, with 85 staff, and made mention of the NSW Government push for councils to join Joint Organisations.
The Office of Local Government says Joint Organisations “provide a forum for local councils and State agencies to collaborate, plan, set priorities and deliver important projects in regional NSW”.
Councils’ decisions on forming or joining a Joint Organisation (JO) have to be made by February 28.
“Councils will have to be part of a JO and be financially fit to be eligible for TCorp [Treasury Corporation] low interest loans," Ms Bennett said.
Ms Bennett said Centroc has in place 22 contracts on behalf of councils which include energy and fuel, which she said was saving money.
She said the organisation was also pushing for more transport investment.
"Centroc has been lobbying for improvement for transport corridors through the Central West to State Parliament for many years,” she said.
"We now have a new Facebook app called Central NSW Connex where users can put up ‘fake news’ or a meme.”
It’s a fun way, she said, to bring to city dwellers’ attention the troubles Central NSW residents have with transport across the Blue Mountains.
“I encourage all to have a look and submit [a piece of fake news or meme] as there is $1000 up for grabs,” she said.
Cr Andrew McKibbin said Oberon Council must be part of a united front before the next NSW election to make transport an issue to people in the Central West.
Centroc, a voluntary regional collaboration of councils, represents more than 200,000 people in an area of more than 50,000 square kilometres.