Port Stephens and Dungog might have been merged if Mike Baird hadn’t resigned as premier.
The proposed merger was given the green light in delegate Peter Peppin’s report only now made public – six months after he penned it.
Having considered the evidence presented to him by Port Stephens Council and it’s residents, as well as Dungog and its stakeholders, Mr Peppin said it would “derive financial savings for the two councils”.
“The larger rate base can be expected to provide the merged council with increased scale and capacity to consider important financial decisions,” he said.
“There is a very strong alignment between the two council’s community and geographic characteristics and traditional and cultural backgrounds.
“Residents and ratepayers can expect these values to be further developed through the increased scale and capacity of a merged council, and there is strong support from those who lodged a submission.”
Mr Peppin also said that the merged entity would have better negotiating powers for the procurement of new and better services and be better placed to tackle backlogs.
“[My] recommendation to the Minister is that the proposed merger of Port Stephens and Dungog Shire Councils proceed, subject to consideration by the Boundaries Commission and approval by the Minister for Local Government,” he said.
The new Premier Gladys Berejiklian dumped any further council megers after a cabinet meeting on February 14. Paul Toole no longer holds the Local Government portfolio.