Forced council mergers

When Premier Baird and Deputy Premier Grant recently rammed through their forced council mergers, they forgot how devastating their decision would be for local communities. This decision in Macquarie Street has robbed residents not only of the right to elect their local council, but also of their community networks and decades of shared local history. We have been visiting many communities who are in shock at what has happened. Many are now asking the same questions: How will our voices be heard when an unelected administrator appointed by the state government is now the ‘Mayor’, ‘Deputy Mayor’ and the whole ‘Council’? How will the voices of our smaller community now be heard in distant town halls? Why have we been treated like this? This is no longer just about forced mergers. It is about local democracy. Forcibly merged councils will not be having elections until September 2017. All other councils will have their elections in September this year. We are calling on Premier Baird and Deputy Premier Grant not to deny democracy for those people who now live in merged council areas. They should allow ALL councils to have their elections this year. Local residents’ voices deserve to be heard and represented, mergers or not. Peter Primrose MLC- Shadow Minister for Local Government & Greg Warren MP Chair, Labor Local Government Caucus Committee