Mildura's road to council amalgamation: ‘Odd marriage’ was foregone conclusion

Mildura Rural City Council’s 1995 corporate team, back, corporate services
director Gary Wescombe, community services director Leonie Burrows,
technical services and infrastructure director Bill Nichol, front, commissioner
Lloyd Thomson, commissioner John Carey, chief commissioner Hugh
Delahunty and chief executive officer Graham Davey.

Mildura Rural City Council’s 1995 corporate team, back, corporate services director Gary Wescombe, community services director Leonie Burrows, technical services and infrastructure director Bill Nichol, front, commissioner Lloyd Thomson, commissioner John Carey, chief commissioner Hugh Delahunty and chief executive officer Graham Davey.

Arguments raged 25 years ago after the Jeff Kennett-led Victorian Government pushed for local government reform, which led to the three councils of City of Mildura, Shire of Mildura and Shire of Walpeup merging to become Mildura Rural City Council. Not everyone was impressed, writes ALLAN MURPHY.

MILDURA developer and former councillor Bob Faulkhead remains adamant the city should have gone it alone during the Vic­torian Government-imposed council amalgamations.

Mr Faulkhead, who was serving just his second term on the City of Mildura when it amalgamated with the Shire of Mildura and Shire of Walpeup, said things would have been quite different today if he had his way.

“Mildura should have stood alone and the Shire of Mildura should have amalgamated with the Shire of Walpeup – they were the arguments that went on during that period,” Mr Faulkhead said.

“My position was pretty clear in that Mildura should had stood alone like Warrnambool because there is too big a difference between the two shires and the catchment of Mildura,” he said.

“I would have liked to see the city boundaries shifted out to Seventeenth Street and Cowra Avenue and that would have taken up a clear city boundary for the future.

“My view was that amalgamation was good at the time, but the history of it has proved that bigger is not necessarily better.”

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