A hot topic at the moment is the proposed merger between Conargo Shire and Deniliquin Council.
A merger would result in a $19 million dollar benefit over 20 years assuming all is going wonderful in those 20 years, $10 million dollars from the Stronger Communities Fund for community infrastructure projects and the population will go up to become 9,000 people (8,972 on old figures).
As it currently stands, Deniliquin Council runs 143 square kilometres of land, Conargo Shire is 8,738 square kilometres, a merger will make the total area 8,881 square kilometres.
Both have offices in Deniliquin but Deniliquin is not part of the Shire which can be confusing to people.
In 2014, Deniliquin was recorded having 7,437 people as residents whilst 1,535 people lived in Conargo Shire, Deniliquin is expected to have a small population decline in coming years.
Deniliquin’s operating revenue is more than double of Conargo Shire’s (16.9m vs 8.1m) with merger predictions expecting a total of 28.1 million by 2019-20.
Deniliquin made a $100,000 operating result profit compared to Conargo’s $800,000 loss in 2013-14 but a merger is expected to bring a $900,000 increase to operating result profit.
Deniliquin also has a larger asset base worth 129.7 million compared to Conargo Shire’s 100.9 million.
One point that may be of interest is Deniliquin’s Infrastructure backlog is sitting at 22% and a merger will lower that by 9% to be 13% which would please Deniliquin residents but residents will have to remember Conargo has a 0% backlog and infrastructure will no doubt be spread around the new area.
Of course there is other benefits and changes in the proposal (see link at the bottom of page) but Deniliquin residents have to decide if they like being in the small confines of Deniliquin Council or be part of something bigger land wise with a new Council?
One last thing to consider is the fact that Council mergers have not been popular in Australia, Victorians did not like the Jeff Kennett ordered mergers in the 1990’s and in the late 2000’s Queensland’s mergers were met with community anger and several Councils managed to de-amalgamate after just four years.
To see all the merger plans to make the best possible personal decision, click on this link.
(Conargo Shire Map with Deniliquin Council also on it)