Local councils across the state should not be fooled by Premier Baird’s bullying language and aggressive campaign to force amalgamations.
Premier Baird and Local Government Minister Toole sent a letter to all NSW Mayors with an unsubtle threat to councils who have listened to their local community and decided to remain standalone: “Councils that see the benefits of merging, but are unable to reach agreement with neighbouring councils, should submit their merger preferences even if agreement has not been reached. These councils will have the best opportunity to shape the future of the new council.”
In response to Baird and Toole’s bulliyng letter, Greens MP David Shoebridge has distributed a letter to all NSW Mayors and Councillors with some essential truths.
There is a very good reason why the Premier is so vague and why he is so bullying. He wants councils to capitulate and “voluntarily” merge by the end of this year because the alternative for him is a lengthy, politically damaging and far from certain outcome.
The Premier does not have a political majority in the NSW Upper House to amend the Local Government Act to allow him to simply sack councils and force mergers without due process.
Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “This is blatant bullying from the Premier and Minister who know that if local councils don’t voluntarily amalgamate, the alternative is a lengthy, politically damaging and far from certain outcome.
“Baird and Toole have clearly been frustrated by local councils who have listened to their communities and been told to stand firm and not become a mega council.
“Most councils after consulting with their communities have found that their residents don’t support having their democratic say diluted by a merger and there is no economic justification for a merger.
“The fact is the Premier does not have a political majority in the Upper House to amend the Local Government Act to allow him to simply sack councils and force mergers without due process.
“The Greens will continue to support locals who, in the face of the Premier’s bullying, decide to stand alone as viable, community-supported and responsible councils.“ Mr Shoebridge said.
Both letters are online here: http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2015/11/13/local-councils-should-not-be-fooled-by-bairds-bluster-and-bullying/