Delegates from the Shires Association’s A Division met at Grafton Council Chambers yesterday to discuss a range of issues including the modernisation of local government.

President of the Shires Association, Cr Bruce Miller, said he was pleased with the positive response from delegates.

“We are looking at how we currently do things – is there a better way to achieve good service delivery for the community?” said Cr Miller.

“Also, we need to ask how we can open meaningful dialogue with State and Federal government in terms of joint roles and responsibilities in the future, and how this will be funded.

“At our first Divisional meeting of this current cycle, many delegates were in favour of moving ahead on this issue, so now’s the time to seize this momentum and go forward.

“Both the Shires and Local Government Association have now begun some genuine discussion about the modernisation of local government and, as I hoped, the discussion has become a broad one about the ways councils can be modernised, how we can become masters of our own destiny and lead the discussion about what we want for our sector in the face of almost inevitable demand for change from the State and increasingly, the Commonwealth.”

Minister for Local Government Barbara Perry also addressed the meeting, congratulating Cr Miller on the ‘fresh and open relationship’ existing between the two parties, which she deemed essential in any collaborative approach.

She also indicated her recognition that local government plays a critical role in the delivery of services, and supports the continuing discussions.

A Division Councils: Ballina; Bellingen; Kempsey; Kyogle; Nambucca; Richmond Valley and Tweed Councils.