1.35PM: Information on the Stronger Councils website details five wards for the Western Plains Regional council.
The wards include a Wellington Ward, Dubbo South Ward, Dubbo Central Ward, Dubbo East Ward and Dubbo North Ward.
Ratepayers, in new council areas, will have their rates protected against future increases, meaning they will pay no more for their rates than they would have under their old council for four years.
Elections for new councils will take place on September 9, 2017
12.52PM: The state government has said it remains committed to a merger of Bathurst Regional Council and Oberon Council despite them being left off a list of newly merged councils today.
Premier Mike Baird, Deputy Premier Troy Grant and Local Government Minister Paul Toole held a joint press conference in Sydney today to announce 19 new council areas would be established, with administrators and interim general managers to be appointed.
They include a new Western Plains Regional Council, comprising a forced amalgamation of Dubbo and Wellington councils.
Bathurst and Oberon have been left of the list for now - along with the proposed merger of Orange, Blayney and Cabonne - pending the outcome of a Land and Environment Court action.
But the government has confirmed that "subject to the decision of the courts, the Minister [Mr Toole] has announced his in principle support" for both of those mergers, along with the forced amalgamation of Botany and Rockdale; Randwick, Waverly and Woollahra; Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby; Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby; Hunters Hill, Lane Cove and Ryde; Burwood, Canada Bay and Strathfield; and Shellharbour and Wollongong.
12.33PM: Dubbo and Wellington councils will merger to create the Western Plains Regional Council under a decision announced by the state government on Thursday.
In a statement to the media Deputy Premier and Member for Dubbo Troy Grant said the creation of the Western Plains Regional Council would deliver improved services and better representation for local communities.
Residents in both the Wellington and Dubbo communities have continued to voice their anger over the proposal, including the mayors of both towns.
In making the announcement Mr Grant said the structure of the new council addressed community concern about potential loss of representation.
“The NSW Government has listened to the communities of Dubbo and Wellington and implemented wards to ensure these communities have a strong voice while retaining their local identity,” Mr Grant said.
“The creation of wards means communities in the Western Plains region will have their unique challenges and concerns heard.”
Mr Grant said the communities would benefit from $10 million provided by the NSW Government from the Stronger Communities Fund for investment in improved services and infrastructure projects.
“The communities of Western Plains Regional Council will have direct input into what services and projects will be delivered under this fund and I will be consulting the community to identify their needs and make sure these are firmly communicated to the new council,” Mr Grant said.
“These projects could include revitalising the Dubbo CBD and promoting the local tourism industry, particularly natural wonders like the Wellington Caves.”
Mr Grant said local residents would also benefit from their strong, new council immediately, through the NSW Government’s policy of a rate protection commitment for new councils.
“The benefits for ratepayers start today,” Mr Grant said.
“We have ensured that residents will pay no more for their rates for the next four years, than they would have under their old councils.”
12:25PM: Influential radio broadcaster Alan Jones has called for Paul Toole to resign as Local Government Minister over his handling of the state government's forced amalgamations program.
Mr Jones, a vocal opponent of forced amalgamation, used his program this morning to criticise Mr Toole and Premier Mike Baird, saying forced mergers could become a thorn in the side of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during the current federal election campaign.
"I'm just wondering is the NSW government, the Baird government, on a deliberate campaign to torpedo Malcolm Turnbull," Mr Jones asked on-air. "This is just chucking a bomb."
Mr Jones said the forced amalgamations were a hand grenade "about to blow up" and the plan was not maintaining local democracy or council services.
He accused Mr Baird of "slaughtering local democracy and local communities" and said campaigners opposed to the mergers would not give up without continuing the fight through the federal election campaign.
The plan could see NSW Nationals leader Troy Grant lose his leadership, Mr Jones said.
"I find this unbelievable ... Malcolm Turnbull is trying to win an election," he told his listeners.
"My understanding is there will be a move within the party to replace Troy Grant as leader, and the call down the Nationals is that Paul Toole, the local government minister, should resign today."
EARLIER: Up to 20 councils across NSW are expected to be dissolved today when the government takes the next step in its forced mergers proposal.
Premier Mike Baird, deputy leader Troy Grant and Local Government Minister Paul Toole have issued an alert this morning confirming there will be a local government announcement in Sydney at 12.30pm.
They will confirm which councils are to be merged immediately, and which councils have been withdrawn from the process.
However, media reports this morning suggest plans to merge Bathurst Regional Council and Oberon Council will remain on hold at this stage pending the outcome of a case in the Land and Environment Court.
Oberon Council, which has vehemently opposed merger plans, has joined a class action action led by Sydney's Woollahra Municipal Council aimed at stopping unwanted amalgamations.
Cabonne Council has also joined that action, meaning plans to merge Orange, Cabonne and Blayney are also likely to remain on hold.