The establishment of the new Hilltops Council would see the “reformation” of democratically elected local government in the areas of Young, Harden and Boorowa.
This was indicated by one of the speakers at last week’s “Meet the Candidates” meeting, organised by the Harden Regional Development Corporation.
The meeting, held at the Harden Country Club, attracted an attendance of some one hundred people. Presentations were heard from 14 candidates standing for election to the new council.
Tricia Mack from Murringo tendered an apology, and the three Boorowa candidates, Wendy Tuckerman, Jack Ryan and Chris Corcoran, although invited, had indicated that they had a prior engagement.
A number of candidates at the Harden meeting indicated that major projects which they considered important were a new regional library at Young, a supply of natural gas to Harden and a better water supply for Boorowa.
Apart from better infrastructure and economic growth in the area, another factor which a number of candidates considered important was increased promotion of tourism and the identification of the strengths of each town and village in the council area.
The need for a better local environment plan, along with improved consultation and communication with residents and ratepayers was also placed high on the agenda.
Many speakers suggested that there was a “culture problem” within the current system.
Several speakers were scathing about the “flawed” amalgamation process and the alleged failures of communication and consultation over the past 18 months.
However, it was suggested that dissatisfaction with the State Government had been directed against those trying to run the administration.
While accepting that their role as councillors, if elected, was to be responsible for strategic planning and policy, the candidates generally agreed that there should be a better system of communication between council, staff and the community.
The Harden Regional Development Corporation was providing a valuable service in this regard.
As one candidate commented: ‘There should be an organisation similar to HRDC in Young and Boorowa.’
Two further “Meet the Candidates” sessions were held in Boorowa and Young.