Dungog Council has to amalgamate and it may as well be with Port Stephens

I write in response to Sally Corbett’s letter in the March 9 issue of the Dungog Chronicle.

A number of people believe a merger between Dungog and Port Stephens would be good

A number of people believe a merger between Dungog and Port Stephens would be good

Nobody can deny that cost shifting on our roads and bridges many years ago has paid a major part in the downfall of most small councils, but the fact remains that the Baird government is determined to push ahead with amalgamations whether we like it or not.

If we all sit back and say nothing we will be amalgamated with a council we don’t want.

It is far better to voice our opinions and hopefully get the best outcome possible. We cannot stand alone.

The NSW government has stated that we can’t rely on grants and a massive rate increase by Dungog Council of between 90 and 108 per cent over six years to stand alone has been considered unreasonable by the government.

Dungog will not lose its identity if it comes under Port Stephens Council any more than it would if we are forced to amalgamate with Maitland.

But Port Stephens is more tourism based than Maitland and would incorporate our current shire in their tourism publicity.

As for losing Dungog’s identity, my wife and I have travelled all over Australia in our caravan and stayed in many lovely towns but have never had the slightest idea which municipality or shire these towns were in.

In fact I doubt that many travellers would know as it doesn’t affect the actual township.

On the contrary, if we were amalgamated with Port Stephens Council we may end up with enough funds to fix our roads and even have a caravan or camping area to attract tourists from Bucketts Way, and instead, travel through Dungog.

Sure, Port Stephens Council may be using the Dungog option to hopefully save them from a disastrous amalgamation with Newcastle, and likewise Dungog should be using the Port Stephens option to offer as an alternative to Maitland or Gloucester.

As a matter of interest, the distance from the Port Stephens Council Chambers in Raymond Terrace to Dungog is 50 kilometres which is fractionally less than the distance from Raymond Terrace to Fingal Bay.

John Staker, Dungog​

This story Dungog has to amalgamate first appeared on Dungog Chronicle.

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