The move of Tingha from the old Guyra Shire to Inverell Shire has been strewn with thorns.
The decision, made in April, was initially laid in stone. But members of the Inverell Shire Council meeting of the Economic and Community Sustainability Committee, held on Wednesday, did not appear certain as to when or how the 800-square kilometre boundary adjustment would take place.
At a time when the assets should have been distributed and the resolution tidied up, a survey is planned to gauge residents interest in joining Inverell – yet again!
Delayed by the Armidale local elections in which Tingha’s residents were called to vote at the eleventh hour, further delays came after officials of the Armidale Council told residents that the boundary could not be changed six months either side of a council election.
The new mayor of Armidale Regional Council, Guyra resident Simon Murray, is not so sure that the boundaries should be changed at all. Nor does he believe that the residents of Tingha are in favour of an adjustment.
The advantages of a split from Armidale however are many. Inverell Shire Council General Manager Paul Henry said that Tingha’s residents are overwhelmingly in favour of joining Inverell Shire. “The only people not in favour are staff employed by the Armidale Council in Tingha and the local contractor hired to collect garbage,” he said.
Arguments that the indigenous community had not been consulted were not seen as valid. Mr Henry pointed out that different Aboriginal tribes live in Armidale and Guyra than those in Inverell and Tingha.
The question will be put to the test again in December with a survey to gauge the extent of residents’ interest.