It's out with the old and in with the new for a government organisation designed to strengthen the bonds between regional communities.
Namoi Unlimited, a Joint Organisation (JO) of five local councils [Gunnedah, Gwydir, Liverpool Plains, Tamworth and Walcha] has decided to formally dissolve and re-structure into a more loosely-tied alliance.
Namoi Unlimited chair and mayor of Walcha Eric Noakes said all members have agreed to shut down the initiative in its current form because the costs of running the organisation outweigh the benefits.
"We got a lot out of it when we had more councils and more [state] government funding but as the cost pressure on councils increased we felt it started not really working for us," he said.
Cr Noakes said the administrative costs of JOs are similar to that of regional councils as they're required to hire an Executive Officer, prepare separate financial statements, and maintain an Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee.
The Namoi JO originally had seven member councils and a budget from the state government to draw funding from, but now only five councils remain.
The five will now go back to their local councils to request approval for each member's resignation, and the organisation will then write to the Minister for Local Government requesting its formal dissolution.
Cr Noakes assured the Leader all of the JO's projects, like setting up the new Regional Jobs Precinct, will still go ahead.
"The funding we have will be spent on those projects and they'll all be completed before the dissolution comes into effect," he said.
Tamworth mayor Russell Webb said he's proud of what the JO was able to accomplish.
"By working together we were able to identify some of the most needed and most used transport routes and were able to get state and federal funding to upgrade those routes, rather than fixing up bits and pieces in our own councils" Cr Webb said.
"That particular project is now being used as a model by Regional Cities NSW for projects across the state."
With the exclusion of Gwydir Shire Council, Namoi Unlimited's member councils have committed to continuing their collaboration through the creation of a new 'Regional Alliance'.
It's unclear at this time what the structure of the new alliance will be, but Cr Noakes said there will be lots of time to work that out while the JO focuses on completing its existing projects.