In a tortured and unprincipled compromise the Coalition has ripped itself in two by providing one rule for local democracy in the bush and another for millions of residents in the city.

Premier Berejiklian’s decision to proceed with forced council amalgamations in the city while bowing to a small number of communities in the bush highlights division in the Coalition and will only drive greater community opposition to what is now her disastrous forced amalgamation policy.

Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“You cannot have one rule for local democracy in the bush and another in the city. Every resident in NSW deserves equal treatment and genuinely local democracy.

“This half-baked response from Premier Berejiklian has nothing to do with what’s good for local government and everything to do with appeasing the division within her own Coalition. It is an unprincipled compromise.

“If the Coalition is admitting that it is wrong on forced council amalgamations in places like Oberon and Cabonne, then it can’t pretend it is the right thing for millions of residents in the city.

“Whether you’re in the city or the bush the fact is forced amalgamations are undemocratic and damaging and must be scrapped.

“There is no evidence, no mandate and no democracy in any of the amalgamations that are being forced through, and communities simply will not accept this.

“Premier Berejiklian had the opportunity to right Baird’s wrong, but instead she now owns this mess and local communities won’t be going away.

“With by-elections coming up in Manly and the North Shore, Premier Berejiklian will soon get a taste for what residents in open revolt really looks like.

“There is only one response that communities are giving to Premier Berejiklian today and it is pretty simple, ‘Put the Liberals last’.

“The Greens have been opposed to forced amalgamations from day one and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with local residents who are fighting to protect their councils from this failed forced amalgamations agenda.” Mr Shoebridge said