The creation of new “Joint Organisations of Councils” is a vital part of the State Government’s “Fit for the Future” approach to local government reform and renewal.
It is intended that Joint Organisations will ultimately be imbedded in a revised and updated Local Government Act and that they will provide a forum for local councils and the State to work together to deliver regional priorities on areas as diverse as jobs, education, housing, roads and transport. Vitally, they will also help to connect local priorities from local council Community Strategic Plans with regional planning for growth, infrastructure and economic development and thus provide a means of delivering projects across council boundaries. The NSW Government is providing $5.3 million to get the new organisations up and running in regional NSW with the final model being developed by local councils in partnership with the State.
You can read more about the program in the Joint Organisation Roadmap. Joint Organisations will be established across regional NSW by September 2016.
What will Joint Organisations do?
Regional Joint Organisations will have three core functions:
- Regional strategic planning
- Working with State Government
- Regional leadership and advocacy
They may also decide to undertake optional functions such as:
- Regional service delivery
- Sharing skills and best practice
Piloting the program
Five groups of NSW councils are currently working with the NSW Government to develop the JO model and build better working relationships between councils and State agencies. The successful Pilots are: Hunter, Illawarra, Central West, Namoi and Riverina regions. They include a diverse mix of councils, all with a strong history of working together and a commitment to partnering with the State to address regional priorities such as economic development, transport and infrastructure. Each Pilot is trialling a slightly different model, to reflect the different working relationships and priorities of their region. The Pilots will be sharing their learning with other councils along the way and helping to develop the JO model, which will be finalised in early 2016.
So far, all groups have completed a series of workshops with member councils, State agencies and others to develop:
- A shared understanding of the purpose of JOs and how the Pilot program will work
- Core features of the JO model and regional variations for each Pilot group
- Draft action plans for getting the Pilots up and running
- Ideas for regional priorities to focus on during the Pilots
- Ideas to help support the councils taking part and ensure the program is a success
Charters to guide how they will function and work with others during the Pilot and a Statement of Regional Priorities in consultation with State agencies and others, which will guide their planning and projects for the first year have been finalised. You can read more about the first stage of the Pilot program in the JO Pilot Interim Report in the documents section of this web page.