Hilltops Mayor sits with NSW Premier to discuss merger costs

National's candidate Steph Cooke and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian listen to the concerns of Hilltops Council General Manager Anthony McMahon, Mayor Brian Ingram and Deputy Mayor Tony Wallace.
National's candidate Steph Cooke and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian listen to the concerns of Hilltops Council General Manager Anthony McMahon, Mayor Brian Ingram and Deputy Mayor Tony Wallace.

The cost of the Council merger transition was at the top of the agenda when Hilltops Council Mayor Brian Ingram today met with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in Young.

The Mayor was joined by Hilltops Council Deputy Mayor Tony Wallace, Hilltops Council General Manager Anthony McMahon and the National’s candidate for Cootamundra Steph Cooke who arranged the meeting.

“I certainly appreciated the chance to sit down with Premier Berejiklian so early in our Council’s term to speak directly to her on behalf of the community, particularly about the need for additional funding in regards to the costs associated with the merger transition,” Mayor Ingram said.

“I'm satisfied that the Premier understands our unique situation and the circumstances we're facing, as we start the process of building a strong and successful region for our children and grandchildren.

“I stressed the importance of ensuring the community isn’t left picking up the funding shortfall, particularly given councils in metro areas were allocated $10 million to fund their merger expenses, compared with rural and regional councils who were only allocated $5 million.

“It’s my hope now that we can work constructively with the State Government to address our concerns and find a resolution to the issue,” he said.

Other topics discussed included the need for targeted investment in key infrastructure, the plans for enhanced educational opportunities for the region, as well as the various funding applications the Council currently has before the State Government.

The Mayor also used the opportunity to highlight the growth potential of the region.

“The Hilltops is a diverse and dynamic region that has the potential to become an even greater contributor to the state’s economy through the right type of investment,” Mayor Ingram said.