A strong and principled campaign from communities, councils and the Greens has forced the Coalition Government to back down on its undemocratic forced council amalgamation agenda.
Former Premier Baird’s failed forced amalgamations have become politically untenable with reports that no further forced amalgamations will go ahead and plebiscites will be held across the state for residents and ratepayers to vote on de-merging.
This is a win for people power over developers, corporate interests and an arrogant state government that was taking communities for granted.
Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said
“After years of a David and Goliath campaign where local communities and plucky local councillors stood up to an aggressive state government, communities have come out on top.
“This wouldn’t have happened without the collective campaign from councils and their local communities who have stared down the State Government to protect their local democracy.
“Forced amalgamations became politically impossible for the Coalition Government because councils and local communities did not give up.
“This is a win for people power over developers, corporate interests and an arrogant state government that was taking communities for granted.
“This is proof once more that if you campaign on progressive politics, stick with your principles and are backed up by the best evidence, you can win.
“This sends a clear message to future state governments that most local communities value their local representation more highly that the spin that comes from Macquarie Street.
“Forced mergers in NSW are now dead, buried and cremated.
“Mike Baird fell on his political sword after a failed campaign to bulldoze local councils and their communities and I give credit to Premier Berejikilian for recognising this mistake.
“The Greens will be watching closely to ensure this applies to all councils across the state, with a commitment needed that no further forced mergers will go ahead and plebiscites will be held in all amalgamated councils on de-merging.
“There are community campaigners, mayors, councillors and politicians across the state who put aside their political allegiances and fought for local councils. It’s a privilege to work with them.” Mr Shoebridge said