The Yass Valley’s cross-border issues with Canberra would no longer be a problem if the shire became part of the territory, the vision of the Yass Valley’s mayor.
Outgoing mayor Nic Carmody believes the Yass Valley should one day be taken in by the ACT.
In his mayoral minute, put to council on Wednesday, he said the future of the Yass Valley lay with the territory.
“The reason we have a ‘government’ is for services to be provided to its people,” Cr Carmody said.
“The Yass Valley has an ever increasing reliance on the ACT.
“All our children are now born in the ACT, we are expected to access the ACT health system for the majority of our health services, half of the children are educated in the ACT education system, and the majority of our cultural and sporting entertainment is in Canberra.”
ACT chief minister Katy Gallagher said there were certainly no discussions underway about changing the borders and it would require significant Commonwealth legislation.
“There are no plans and there is no need to take areas of NSW within our borders,” Ms Gallagher said.
Although she noted the borders were just “lines on the map”.
“And in many ways those lines on maps are of little practical importance to the people who cross them each day.”
She said 20,000 people go into the ACT each day for work from councils within an hour’s commute and 6000 head in the opposite direction.
“People from the Yass Valley and elsewhere in NSW already use Canberra’s hospitals, shops and schools daily,” she said.
She said it was important for councils and the ACT to work together. Over the next 18 months the territory, state and local governments will be creating a strategic plan.
“There is certainly potential for huge mutual benefits if we work together across the border,” Ms Gallagher said.
“We are already working together across the border and the Yass Valley is an important region to the people of the ACT and an important consideration in the decisions we make as a government.”
Burrinjuck MP Katrina Hodgkinson said she personally couldn’t see the Yass Valley becoming part of the ACT.
She said Queanbeyan was in much closer proximity to Canberra and the ACT government had never made a move to incorporate the NSW city.
“I really can’t imagine it happening, you need total support from both governments,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
She said the Yass Valley was fortunate to have the country lifestyle while enjoying the facilities Canberra offered.
“We’ve been using services in the ACT for as long as I remember.”
The Constitution states that the Parliament of a state could surrender any part of the state to the commonwealth.
The Division of Local Government said the surrender of any part of NSW to ACT could only be possible with the agreement of the Commonwealth, ACT and NSW governments and consequent amendments to their relevant legislation.