14 July 2016 Council Supports Joint Organisation Model

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14 July 2016 Council Supports Joint Organisation Model

Coffs Harbour City Council has lent its support to the NSW Government’s model for the way that councils in Joint Organisations (JOs) will work together in the future.

Coffs Harbour - together with Clarence Valley, Bellingen Shire and Nambucca Shire Councils – has been earmarked since 2013 to become a member of the regional North Coast Joint Organisation, a result of the state government’s review of local government. Earlier this year the state government published its proposed JO model and requested feedback from councils.

“The proposed North Coast Joint Organisation will essentially continue and build on the valuable collaborative relationships that we’ve developed as a group of councils over past years, but it will also give us a stronger regional voice on community priorities,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor, Councillor Denise Knight.

In the model, JOs are intended to have three core functions - regional strategic planning, intergovernmental collaboration and regional leadership and advocacy. They may also undertake optional functions such as regional service delivery and sharing skills and best practice.

In addition, the NSW Government model proposes that:

  • Mayors of member councils will sit on the JO Board for their term of office.
  • General Managers of member councils will advise and contribute to the JO Board.
  • The JO Board will appoint its own Chair.
  • There will be equal voting rights between members and no casting vote for the Chair.
  • Additional councillors may be appointed to the JO Board, provided representation remains equal
  • The NSW Government representative (Regional Coordinator of the Department of Premier & Cabinet) will be an associate (non-voting) member.
  • Other organisations such as county councils and cross-border partners may be associate (non-voting) members.
  • In terms of boundaries, the JOs will be established by proclamation and demonstrate a strong community of interest between member councils and will be based around a regional centre, where possible, and big enough to form strong partnerships.
  • The JOs will each receive $300,000 seed funding from the NSW Government and will employ an Executive Officer under a standard contract and other staff under the Local Government (State) Award. JOs will be able to apply for grants and generate income to help fund ongoing operations.

As part of a JO, individual councils will still be able to undertake local strategic planning and regional collaboration in their own rights, as well continuing to tender, enter into contracts, apply for grants, employ staff and undertake legislative functions on behalf of member councils.

Coffs Harbour City Council agreed to send a submission supporting the proposed model to the NSW Government.​