Joint Organisations to strengthen regional NSW
The State Government has announced legislation to allow councils in regional NSW to voluntarily join Joint Organisations.
Joint Organisations provide a forum for local councils and State agencies to collaborate, plan, set priorities and deliver important projects in regional NSW.
They will focus on issues that matter most to regional communities such as building strong businesses, creating jobs, securing water supplies, improving regional transport, and developing community infrastructure, services and facilities.
The Local Government Amendment (Regional Joint Organisations) Bill 2017 will be introduced to Parliament in November to allow councils to form new partnerships and work on projects that cross their traditional boundaries.
The principal function of Joint Organisations will be strategic planning and priority setting, intergovernmental collaboration, and regional leadership and advocacy.
The NSW Government will provide seed funding of $3.3 million for the establishment of Joint Organisations.
The legislation follows a successful $1.5 million pilot program which trialled five separate Joint Organisations across NSW. An independent evaluation found the pilot program delivered tangible benefits for regional councils and communities.
The Office of Local Government will provide hands on support to councils wishing to form Joint Organisations and work closely with them once established to ensure they are successful.
Joint Organisations would be ready to start in July 2018, comprise a minimum of three member councils and align with NSW Planning regional boundaries.
Further details on how councils can nominate to become a member of a Joint Organisation and funding arrangements will be released shortly.