The Baird Government has confirmed their plans for forced amalgamations of local councils across the state, in the face of growing community opposition.
According to the State Government’s plan, Marrickville Council will be merged with Ashfield and Leichhardt Councils. This is despite clear indications that residents in the Marrickville LGA do not want their Council to be merged and strong public statements by the Liberal Government before the election that they would not force amalgamations.
Member for Newtown Jenny Leong says:
“Residents expect good local representation. Under this plan the size of LGAs will increase dramatically, but the number of Councillors won’t. That will give residents less access to their Local Councillors, reducing the ability for local advocacy.
“Marrickville Council is known for delivering local services that cater to our community. We fear that those localised services, like Council run-childcare, community festivals – and the Magic Yellow Bus - are under threat.
“Our local community is known for being active and engaged. We know residents will not stay silent while the Baird Government attempts to take away their local council.
“Our office will be working with our Greens Councillors on Marrickville Council and residents to ensure that our message of “No Forced Amalgamations” is heard loud and clear at the public inquiry through the Boundaries Commission.”
Marrickville Greens Councillor Sylvie Elsmore says:
“Council has surveyed residents again and again about the proposed mergers, and every time the community has said no. Residents want the services and jobs Marrickville Council provides protected.
“Marrickville Council is the second largest employer in the Local Government Area. The State Government’s agenda is about cutting jobs, shrinking the real size of Local Councils by forcing us to cut the services we provide and reducing ‘red tape’ for developers.
“It’s important that the Mayor and all Councillors on Marrickville Council stand strong and do not roll over, making it easy for the Baird Government to inflict this forced merger on our community.
“Local Councils should not be the plaything of the Liberal Government. The announcement of such a huge reform just before Christmas makes it clear that the Liberal Government understands this is a deeply unpopular reform, even within their own party.
“This fight is far from over. The Greens will continue to take a strong stand with local residents to say ‘Amalgamations No Way!’.”
For more information on today's announcement and the NSW Greens' response read this statement from Greens Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge.