The Community has struck back and the Liberal National Party’s forced amalgamation mess is collapsing as the government backs down on forced mergers today. While today’s announcement is a terrific victory for all those councils who have taken the government to Court, the campaign to restore local democracy will not end until every forced amalgamation is reversed.

Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“From Strathfield to Woollahra and Kuring-gai to Randwick local communities have stood up to an arrogant state government and today they have won.

“Incompetence and arrogance have been the hallmarks of the Liberal National Party’s attack on local democracy, with hundreds of millions of dollars wasted in their failed forced amalgamation mess.

“A strong and principled campaign from communities, councils and elected representatives was always going to have more power than an out of touch and arrogant Liberal National government.

“The Greens will not rest until the State government has paid every cent of the legal costs of councils and every community that has suffered a forced amalgamation is given the right to get their council back.

“Next week legislation will be before the NSW Parliament that will make it impossible for any future government to forcibly amalgamate a local council without the support of a majority of local residents.

“This legislation that has already passed the NSW Upper House is essential to prevent this appalling style of undemocratic attack on local councils from ever happening again.

“Today we don’t forget the residents in councils including Pittwater, Leichhardt, Tumbarumba, Gloucester and Gundagai who have suffered deeply unpopular forced amalgamations and we will press on to secure legislation to get their councils back.

“While ever there are local communities demanding their councils return, they will have statewide support until all forced amalgamations are dead, buried and cremated.

“There’s a lesson here for any state government, never take local communities for granted,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Media contact: David Shoebridge 9230 3030