The Coalition’s forced amalgamation agenda is facing a new battle with local residents in the Eastern suburbs taking their own legal action to save their local councils.

With Woollahra Council’s High Court hearing approaching this Friday, residents in Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra aren’t leaving it to their councils to save local democracy. Residents have now come together under the banner of Local Democracy Matters Inc to protect their local councils, who have today commenced separate proceedings in the Land and Environment Court to halt the unpopular forced amalgamation.

If Woollahra’s application to the High Court on Friday is refused, Local Democracy Matters will continue with their own proceedings based on the legal precedent set in the recent Kur-ring-gai Council Court of Appeal case.

Spokesperson For Local Democracy Matters, Richard Horniblow said:

“Local Democracy Matters has members from across Woollahra, Waverley and Randwick Councils who are passionate about stopping the Coalition’s planned mega merger in the Eastern Suburbs.

“We want to keep local councils genuinely local and reject the plans of Gladys Berejiklian and Waverley mayor Sally Betts to destroy over a hundred years of local democracy in our areas.

“While Woollahra has been working hard to protect its residents for a forced amalgamation, we have seen too little too late from Randwick and dreadful complicity by the Liberal majority in Waverley.

“Our Association has members from across the political spectrum who are coming together with one goal, to protect our right to genuinely local government that meets the needs of local residents.

Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson, David Shoebridge said:

“It is really heartening to see residents standing up so strongly for their councils and for their local democracy.

“Residents in the east aren’t waiting for Waverley and Randwick councils to come good and oppose the amalgamation but are now taking the State government to court themselves.

“The Ku-ring-gai Council decision found that the proposed forced amalgamation of Ku-ring-gai, which in part was based on a secret KPMG report, could not proceed.

“The Ku-ring-gai decision applies to all the government’s amalgamation proposals on the face of it, including Woollahra, Waverley and Randwick.

“This action means that even if the High Court refuses Woollahra’s application for special leave local residents still have a Plan B to save their local councils.

“Across the State we continue to see this David and Goliath battle with brave local councils and residents standing up to an arrogant State government.

“The Greens will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the community and fight the Coalition’s forced amalgamation agenda.” Mr Shoebridge said.