Dear fellow residents of Leichhardt Council area,
A week before Christmas the Liberal State Government announced its proposal to amalgamate Leichhardt Council with Marrickville and Ashfield councils. Soon after, it published its reasons and announced the appointment of a ‘Delegate’ to examine the proposal and report back to the Minister of Local Government by March 31, 2016.
I personally oppose both the process involved in this plan to amalgamate the councils and the reasons behind it. I encourage everyone concerned about what this means for democracy, development, rates, services, jobs and more to make a submission before 28 February.
I believe that the truly democratic way of deciding the issue is to hold a plebiscite, so that the people can decide the issue. It is very disappointing that Labor and Liberal councillors at Leichhardt Council put their own political interests ahead of democratic principles and rejected the Greens’ proposal for a plebiscite so residents could have their say.
This follows the same Labor and Liberal collusion to put forward the three-way merger plan back in November. By caving in to the State Government after a secret meeting with the Local Government Minister, the Labor Mayors of Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield have sold out their communities.
We can see from analysis of council amalgamations interstate and overseas, that rates are likely to rise and services to residents compromised. As for the claimed financial benefits, it is questionable according to Professor Brian Dollery, Australia’s acknowledged expert on Council amalgamations.
Yet residents are not being given a vote on whether their council continues to exist. Instead Leichhardt Council will only conduct a telephone survey of a few hundred residents.
Whilst it is a good outcome that City of Sydney will remain a stand-alone council, I am not surprised that Leichhardt was in the firing line. Leichhardt Council has a long and strong record of standing up for the community against cost-shifting and over-development.
PUBLIC INQUIRY 1PM & 7PM FEBRUARY 2
The Delegate held a public inquiry on Tuesday February 2 at Wests Leagues Club. More than 100 residents registered beforehand to speak at the inquiry. Overwhelming the message was clear: leave the councils alone!
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS BY 5PM FEBRUARY 28
Written submissions will be accepted until 5pm February 28, 2016. You can submit online at the Council Boundary Review website or by post to Council Boundary Review GPO Box 5341 Sydney NSW 2001, or click the image below for a quick and easy template submission - it will take you less than five minutes.
I encourage you to make a written submission.
Yours for local democracy,
Jamie Parker MP
Member for Balmain