Bob Clark’s shop in the centre of Tingha is a bit like the hub on wheel. People cycle in and out all day, after everything under the sun, and most on a Friday morning shared a similar view: move Tingha into Inverell Shire.
The small community has been in Armidale Regional Council’s area since last year’s amalgamation of Guyra and Armidale councils.
But the community, which is about 100km from Armidale, says it would feel much more at home in Inverell Shire, with Inverell only 25km away.
“For me in the shop, it’s predominantly go to Inverell. It’s only a few, real die-hard ones that think their rates are going to go through the roof,” Bob said.
“But their rates are going to go up anyway, whether they stay in Armidale or here. It was the Guyra council that let Tingha down.”
He said Guyra council had made excuses for why things did not get done in their township, but felt it was down to the rates freeze. He hoped their needs would have more of a presence in the mind of Inverell shire.
The subject is front and centre on Wednesday, February 8 as Inverell Shire Council convenes in a 12pm special meeting to review the outcomes of the shire boundary change discussion.
Inverell council’s stated approach is to accept the Armidale Regional Council’s boundary adjustment, but also present Inverell’s own boundary alteration to the Minister for Local Government.
Forever and a day, nothing’s ever happened in Tingha that hasn’t been done by Tingha.
The Minister will then refer the plan on to the Boundaries Commission or chief executive of the Office of Local Government.
No matter the outcome, the talk in the Tingha shop, customer after customer, is, it’s time to move.
“I do all my business in Inverell,” Sue Bourke said, stopping in to buy her paper. “Even when we were with Guyra, we should have been with Inverell.”
Anaiwan Local Aboriginal Land Council, chief executive Greg Livermore stood talking on the LALC porch with Chris Hannim, who lives a mile outside the Tingha township line.
The two men agreed a move to Inverell was the logical and potentially beneficial decision.
“I think it’s a good idea, personally,” Chris said.
“Forever and a day, nothing’s ever happened in Tingha that hasn’t been done by Tingha, and with the council mergers and everything, it’s just the case that Tingha’s that much further away from the council centre, and nothing will change.”
Greg said the move was was common sense with children attending primary and secondary school, working, playing sport, and shopping in Inverell.
“There’s all those other things that we do, even without thinking about it,” Greg said.
“Nobody goes to Armidale, not every day, and Chris is right. Now that the council hub’s in Armidale, we’ll never get anything done. We’re going to be that far removed from Armidale, who’s going to worry about Tingha, being out on the western edge?”