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Joint Organisations to strengthen regional NSW

Joints Organisations (JOs) are a key NSW Government commitment to build stronger councils and improve service delivery and infrastructure across rural and regional communities.

 

Supporting Joint Organisation success for stronger regional communities.

In November 2017, the Parliament passed laws to allow regional councils to voluntarily form new Joint Organisations to strengthen regional co-ordination and improve delivery of important infrastructure and services.

Councils across regional NSW, including those in the Far West region, were invited to nominate to join a Joint Organisation.

Since then the Office of Local Government has been working closely with councils to assist them to design a Joint Organisation that best suits the needs of their region.

 

Release of Draft Regulations to support JOs

In addition, Draft regulations to support Joint Organisations (JOs) and a Regulation Consultation Guide have been released for council consideration.

  • Appendix A to the Guide provides the questions OLG is asking about the proposed regulation.
  • To assist councils to provide feedback, Appendix B to the Guide shows what parts of the Local Government Act 1993 apply to JOs and
  • Appendix C to the Guide shows what parts of the Local Government (General) Regulations 2005 apply to JOs.

Feedback on the proposed regulations should be provided by COB 16 March 2018 by filling out the form provided.

 

Extension to period during which councils can niminate to form a JO

With more than half of regional and rural NSW councils having already resolved to join a JO, results have been very encouraging.

To assist those councils that have requested additional time to make their decision, the NSW Government will accept nominations to join a Joint Organisation up to 23 March 2018.

See further information about how to nominate below.

 

How to nominate to be in a JO

The Local Government Amendment (Regional Joint Organisations) Act 2017 commenced on 15 December 2017 allowing councils to voluntarily join new JOs in their planning region.

JOs provide a forum for local councils and State agencies to collaborate, plan, set priorities and deliver important projects in regional NSW.

The NSW Government is providing $3.3 million in seed funding to establish JOs which will focus on the issues that matter most to regional communities. These include building strong businesses, creating jobs, securing water supplies, improving regional transport, and providing community infrastructure, services and facilities.

The principal function of JOs will be strategic planning and priority setting, intergovernmental collaboration, and regional leadership and advocacy.

The Office of Local Government (OLG) is actively supporting councils to develop a JO that best suits their needs.  This has included visits to councils and regions and the provision of an information pack to councils.

Interested rural and regional councils need to take the following steps in order to complete the nomination process:

1. Identify your council’s planning region according to the map provided in the information pack. Only councils in the Far West have the option to join a JO outside their planning region;

2. Consult with councils within your preferred regional grouping to reach agreement on JO membership, noting that each JO must have a minimum of three member councils;

3. Once the proposed membership is agreed, ensure each member council endorses the proposal by a resolution of council;

4. By 23 March 2018, submit your nomination to form a JO by email to jointorganisations@olg.nsw.gov.au, marked ‘Nomination for Joint Organisation’. This is to include a copy of the resolution and the date council made that resolution; and

5. Councils should also complete and return a Forming a Joint Organisation – checklist with the nomination.

Unlike a normal council resolution, the legislation provides a fixed 28 day period for councils to rescind such a resolution. As such, councils are also asked to undertake a further step, which may fall after 28 February:

6. After the expiry of a period of 28 days from the making of council’s resolution, the General Manager inform the Minister in writing that council’s resolution has not been rescinded.

The JO network and funding allocations will be announced in March, with JOs proclaimed in April and operational by July 1.

To answer queries and provide support in this process, OLG Council Engagement Managers are making contact with each council eligible to join a JO during January. Councils can speak with their OLG Council Engagement Manager at any time by calling OLG on (02) 4428 4100.

The NSW Government looks forward to working with JOs and member councils to ensure each region can grow to its full potential.

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