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Bland Shire Council to stand alone

Bland Shire Council General Manager, Ray Smith, has welcomed today’s announcement from the New South Wales State Government to allow Bland Shire Council to stand alone.

NSW Premier Mike Baird today announced that 152 Councils across the state will be slashed to 112 with the number of regional Councils to be reduced from 109 to 87.

However, on the back of strong community support and a steel resolve, Bland Shire will stand alone and be reassessed under the State Government’s Fit for the Future program in 2016.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird also announced that the Local Government elections will be deferred by six months until March 2017.

Bland Shire Mayor, Neil Pokoney, also welcomed the announcement but warned Bland Shire faces some tough financial decisions as it strives to meet the Fit for the Future criteria and prove its long term sustainability.

“Even though it is good news, Council is going to have to make some tough decisions,” Mayor Pokoney said.

Mr Smith said the announcement eases several months of anguish for Bland Shire Council staff and provides a renewed level of certainty for the Bland Shire community as its enters an exciting new era.

“The Bland Shire has a bright and exciting future and as a Council we can now look forward to getting on with the job,” Mr Smith said.

“Council has been financially prudent over the past few years and even while tightening the belt has managed to maintain the current high standard of service delivery.

“No doubt this will become even harder as community expectations continue to rise, however, now that we know our immediate future we can plan accordingly.”

With just one week until Christmas, Mr Smith said the announcement was a timely one for Council staff and their families.

“It has been a very trying and stressful period but my staff have continued to work diligently throughout this reform process, despite an uncertain employment future,” he said.