“The four Councils of the region have been meeting as a voluntary organisation of Councils for over 40 years since its original formation in 1975” he added, “and we were one of the 5 regions in NSW to very successfully pilot this new approach in 2015”.
“Becoming a legally constituted body corporate entity under the Local Government Act will bring some changes to the way we work together” he noted.
“For example, our meetings will necessarily be required to fully conform to local government meeting practices. I am sure that while we may be required to forgo some of the informality we have found so valuable in the past we can retain the history of cooperation and collaborative approach that is recognised in the Strategic Plan we adopted at the end of last year”.
For some of the Joint Organisations that will be newly established across NSW, the concentration of activity will be solely on the “core functions” for Joint Organisations. These include leadership and advocacy, intergovernmental collaboration, and regional strategic planning.
“ISJO has been active in this space, with some very good work done with the Parliamentary Secretary and our friends in State Government on initiatives such as the rollout of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan, the Illawarra Youth Employment Strategy, and the 360 Degree Economic Outlook” the Chairman pointed out.
“ISJO also has a full program of “non-core” or optional activity not required of the new entities by the State Government, that we value and have really built up in recent years” he went on to explain.
“ISJO coordinates joint waste, illegal dumping prevention, procurement, and weeds programs” said Councillor Bradbery. “We also bring Council staff together to share information and skills on the best approaches to asset management, human resource management and other support areas of Councils’ work. This provides better services and significant efficiencies and savings for our communities”.
“As Chairman of the existing organisation I know that there will be some challenges under the new system. Our regional “hats” will no longer be optional and scrutiny of our role will be heightened. But as Board members we are fully committed and aware of our new responsibilities; we are assisting and providing an example to other newly forming JOs across the state; and we will continue to strive for the best outcomes that working together can bring to our communities”.