The report prepared by Crest Performance consultants at a cost of over $9000, recognises some sections of the community have still not accepted well the forced merger of Council’s, leaving a degree of divisiveness. It refers to it as the “silo mentality” that needs to be treated as a “cultural issue” requiring strong and consistent leadership.
The report ignores any justification some communities have as a result of the forced merger. eg., the inclusion in Council’s Local Environment Plan (LEP) Zone Clause B3, which reinforces Grafton/South Grafton as the regional business centre accommodating major regional services and higher shopping order.
Whether this restraint to trade clause is illegal, if not, compromising economic growth to similar service communities eg., Maclean and environs, it certainly ignores Council’s Economic Strategy which encourages value adding to recognised economies.
To add insult to injury, despite the LEP restraining free enterprise growth in Maclean, it was nevertheless subject to two SRV’s in successive years, while Grafton, enjoying it’s direct benefit to regional facilities, had it’s rates frozen.
Maclean Council was not one of the merged doughnut Council’s and had it’s own autonomous business economy with links to Lismore and Ballina (medical, hospital and airport) probably more than Grafton. Consequently, any restraint to it’s economy is unproductive.
Moreover, the failure of Crest Performance report to even consider any justification some communities have as a result of forced amalgamation and calling it a “cultural issue”, is simply applying lipstick to a pig.