Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council adds to its trophy haul

A council that was recently vying for the 2020 National Award for Local Government has been named as one NSW’s most progressive and innovative councils.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council was awarded the 2020 A.R. Bluett Memorial Award (metropolitan/regional) at the annual conference of Local Government NSW (LGNSW) held this week.

Bellingen Shire Council took out the rural category.

LGNSW and ALGA President Linda Scott commended QPRC’s “remarkable transformation journey” since it was created from the amalgamation of the City of Queanbeyan Council and the Palerang Shire in 2016.

She said that while many of the state’s councils have struggled under amalgamation, QPRC anticipated savings of $13 million over the next 10 years.

Mayor Tim Overall said he was “delighted and proud” of QPRC’s achievement, particularly given the council has had to contend with drought, bushfires and floods since 2016.

“Along with tackling all the challenges of what that merger has created, we really started from the outset in 2016 to adopt a transformation plan – not a transition plan to a new council, but to actually transform into a completely new entity,” he told Government News.

“From day one we were out of the ground with communities that had some hesitation about the value of a merger …. and we got the community on board early.

“I think it has worked very well and I don’t hear any sort of opposition to it now,” he said.

Cr Scott said Bellingen Shire Council (which is responsible for 13,000 people and 1600 square kilometres of land, 57 percent of which is non-rateable) “had been able to deliver on its promises of infrastructure and services while reporting a sound financial budget”.

The A.R. Bluett Memorial Awards are the oldest and most prestigious local government awards in NSW.