Ignoring the wishes of local communities across NSW the Baird Government has announced it will press ahead with its ugly forced amalgamation agenda and has proclaimed 19 forced council amalgamations.
Strong and sustainable councils like Tumbarumba, Guyra, Marrickville and Pittwater are being forced to merge despite all the best evidence showing that when councils have been forced to amalgamate rates have gone up, services have stagnated and residents end up less connected to the councillors who represent them. Many other councils have been saved from Baird’s axe by strong community campaigns and legal actions.
This is far from over and the Greens are committed to legislation that would give residents, in every council the subject of a forced merger, the right to vote in a binding plebiscite on de-merging
Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“There is no evidence, no mandate and no democracy in the 19 amalgamations that Baird has forced through today.
“Councils like Tumbarumba, Guyra, Marrickville and Pittwater are financially strong and fully supported by their local communities as standalone councils. It is a genuine tragedy that the current Premier has decided to bulldoze them.
“Right from the start this process has been a shambles with competing merger proposals, blown out deadlines, secret reports and a raft of legal proceedings.
“Every council that has stood with their residents and taken the government to court has forced the government’s hand and continue to stand alone.
“Councils and their residents shouldn’t have to take the State government to court to protect their local democracy from Baird’s ugly plans for mega councils.
“The Greens are committed to ensuring that residents, not Mike Baird, have the final say on the make-up of their local council. This struggle is far from over.
“We guarantee to support and develop legislation that will give residents in every council the subject of a forced merger the right to vote in a binding plebiscite on de-merging.
“Whether the legislation passes in 2016 or 2019 our commitment to allow communities to hold a binding plebiscite remains firm, and residents deserve nothing less.