Council's border bid

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There was bipartisan, unanimous support from all councillors on Monday night to approach neighbouring local government areas with a proposition to expand Penrith Council’s borders.

The Independent Local Government Review Panel (ILGRP) has released a discussion paper on the future of local government in NSW and makes a number of suggestions on financial sustainability and amalgamations of inner city councils.

Penrith Councillors were of the view that for Penrith Council to grow as a regional city, a number of border changes would be beneficial.

Deputy Mayor Ross Fowler said that the Western Sydney Employment Lands are currently administered by two Councils.

“It would be logical that the growth of that region be managed by one Council and that is an area of great prospect for Penrith,” he said.

“If you want to promote regional development then it is probably better that it is under one government’s control.”

“We have a number of townships that are divided between two councils, such as Luddenham, Wallacia, Agnes Banks and Badgerys Creek where it would be beneficial to have one Council overseeing the area,” agreed Cr John Thain.

Penrith Council General Manager, Alan Stoneham, has already commenced discussions with neighbouring General Managers about communities of interest.

Mayor, Mark Davies, said that he met with the reviewers and expressed three key issues. “I made it clear that the region must have a strong, regional voice amidst the amalgamations elsewhere,” he said.

The ILGRP in the same discussion paper has suggested that it become compulsory for all mayors to be elected by popular vote from the public.

Penrith Councillors did not agree.

“A mayor must have the support of the council in order to achieve the goals of the government,” Cr Fowler said.

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