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Cootamundra Gundagai Council Amalgamation


12 May 2016


The democratically- elected councillors unceremoniously sacked by Local Government Minister Paul Toole today have every reason to feel betrayed but the whole sector should focus on ensuring the speedy return of genuine grassroots representation, Local Government NSW said.

The peak body’s President Keith Rhoades said he was unsurprised at the number and nature of the sackings, given the highly politicised process to date.

"The process itself has been one long litany of mistakes and miscalculations and dubious dealings by the Government, and it’s telling that both IPART and now the Boundaries Commission have felt compelled to disassociate themselves from the political decisions being made," Clr Rhoades said.

"If it wasn’t for a range of vehement campaigns by grassroots communities and the local government sector, the Baird Government would have bulldozed through an even more extensive and undemocratic reform process long ago.

"You can’t pretend it’s not inherently political when the only councils to escape amalgamation are those that happen to fall into marginal federal electorates in the middle of an election campaign."

Clr Rhoades said the Government had clearly ignored the clearly stated wishes of communities, and had broken their own pledge that there would be no forced amalgamations.

"It’s now a matter for voters, many of whom may well choose to express their anger and sense of betrayal at the ballot box at the first opportunity," he said.

"Meanwhile, our most important goal now is to restore ‘business as usual’ as quickly as possible, so the complex and costly task of merging two or more councils into one entity does not disrupt communities any further.

"I would urge any former councillor or former Mayor who was democratically elected by their residents and ratepayers to keep the interests of those people to the forefront, and to work towards the re-establishment of local democracy and representation."

Clr Rhoades said the sector would continue to hold the Baird Government accountable.

"We’re in a new landscape, and this needs a new and improved approach from the State Government," he said.

"Despite the long trail of broken promises this Government must at the very least deliver the full funding support it pledged to amalgamating councils at various points during the rocky reform process.

"There will be a lot of concern and uncertainty in the sector, particularly in regional towns where local government is not only the heart of the community but often one of the major employers.

"That’s why it is important to ensure communities represented by smaller councils being subsumed into larger ones do not lose their representation or their voice.

"I’m confident that the transitional committees, Government-appointed administrators and interim general managers will do their absolute best to make the change as smooth as possible, and I urge them never to forget the importance of local democracy and representation in their roles."

The proclamations, which can be found here, here and here, identify 19 amalgamations or boundary changes determined by the Government and announced today.

Proclaimed amalgamations

Armidale Dumaresq, Guyra

Ashfield, Leichhardt, Marrickville

Auburn, Holroyd

Bankstown, Canterbury

Bombala, Cooma-Monaro, Snowy Rover

Boorowa, Harden, Young

Conargo, Deniliquin,

Cootamundra, Gundagai

Corowa, Urana

Dubbo, Wellington

Gloucester, Great Lakes, Greater Taree

Gosford, Wyong

Hurstville, Kogarah

Jerilderie, Murrumbidgee

Manly, Pittwater, Warringah

Murray, Wakool

Palerang, Queanbeyan

Tumbarumba, Tumut.

Parramatta and parts of The Hills, Auburn, Holroyd, Hornsby

Not Proceeding:

Kiama, Shoalhaven

Tamworth, Walcha

Hawkesbury, The Hills.

On Hold Due To Legal Action, but amalgamation given "in principle support" by Minister:

Botany, Rockdale

Woollahra, Randwick, Waverley

Bathurst, Oberon

Mosman, North Sydney, Willoughby

Blayney, Cabonne, Orange

Shellharbour, Wollongong

Hunters Hill, Ryde, Lane Cove

Canada Bay, Strathfield, Burwood

Ku-ring-gai, Hornsby

On Hold while alternative proposals are considered:

Port Stephens, Newcastle

Dungog, Maitland


Council Boundary Review Proposal

Cootamundra Shire Council Written Submission to Public Inquiry