Forced council mergers antithesis of democracy

MEDIA RELEASE - January 25, 2016
Council_inquiry_at_Ashfield.jpgThe State Government is thumbing its nose at local communities by pushing ahead with its proposal to force the amalgamation of Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield councils.

Defending the rights of Inner West residents to have a say in the future of their council, Member for Balmain, Jamie Parker MP, said he would be working with community volunteers to deliver information to all local residents encouraging submissions to the Council Boundary Review.

“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,” said Mr Parker.

“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. 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.

“Written submissions on amalgamation of the three councils will be accepted until 28 February. I will do everything I can to ensure that residents are aware of the issues and to encourage submissions. However, based on the State Government’s flawed process to date, I am not optimistic the community’s wishes will be honoured.

“By releasing their merger proposals so late in the year when most people switch off for the holidays and keeping the KPMG report secret, it certainly appears that the State Government has something to hide,” said Mr Parker.

Make a submission to the Council Boundary Review - will take you five minutes!


For more comment  from Jamie Parker: 0413581603 (Lesa de Leau)

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