Community members opposed to local council mergers are being called on to join a rally against forced amalgamations outside the NSW Parliament on Wednesday.
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The rally organisers say the protest is to make it clear that if the government doesn’t listen and sacks or forces local councils to amalgamate “we will remember them” at the next ballot box.

In a statement the Cabonne Amalgamation No Thank You (ANTY) group said it had been drawn to its attention that the NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton recently “infuriated her ministerial colleagues and undermined Premier Mike Baird” when she told cheering locals at an anti-amalgamations rally that Woollahra Council should not be merged and that “small can be effective”.

ANTY spokesperson Marj Bollinger said Ms Upton reportedly told the Hands Off Our Council rally in Double Bay, “I believe there is no perfect size for a council and what works here may not work for those that are three streets to our south. I do believe small can be effective. Let me be clear about my position on this issue – my position is that Woollahra Council should not be merged with other councils if it has the community support and the numbers stack up,” she said.

Unlike Member for Orange Andrew Gee who has stood firm in support of the community he represents. Ms Upton has backtracked on her stance and said she supports the government’s position.

“The NSW government has now received and responded to the IPART report, and the Attorney-General supports that position,” Ms Upton’s spokesman reportedly said

It is understood Wellington and Cabonne councils (which both reaffirmed their decisions to stand alone in their extraordinary meetings) felt limited by the 50 words they were allowed to respond to the IPART recommendation with.

Wellington Council even sent extra attachments with their response and to Deputy Premier Troy Grant, who mayor Anne Jones said had refused to return her calls.

“It is situations like this that have people who vote, angry that their local members place far more importance in securing their party pre selection at the next election than standing up for their constituents and doing what they themselves believe is morally right,” Mrs Bollinger said

“That is why anti amalgamation groups state wide are encouraging people to join in a rally in front of Parliament House, Macquarie Street Sydney at mid day on Wednesday 18th November to make it clear that if the government doesn’t listen and sacks or forces local councils to amalgamate ‘we will remember them’ at the next ballot box’.”

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Narromine Shire Council is leaving the merger box blank in its IPART feedback form, according to mayor Bill McAnally.
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The shire is maintaining its stand-alone stance after comprehensive meetings, discussions and public forums.

Cr McAnally isn’t concerned, even after a letter from the premier Mike Baird and Minister for Local Government Paul Toole sent out a letter last week, asking councils to consider mergers.

“Councils that have demonstrated an ability to work together in reaching agreement to merge will have the opportunity to shape the future of the new council and serve the community until the end of their current term,” the letter reads.

Bill McAnally, Narromine Shire Mayor. “It’s like we’ve had three medicals and we’ve come out healthy, except on scale and capacity,”

Bill McAnally.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

PODCAST:It’s been 30 years since the release of these classic and iconic films. What makes them so good today?
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Not to be rushed: Simon Coote and Nisa Schebella checking out the Oceanic Victor project at the meeting on Monday, November 16. More than 60 people attended.
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Caution was the key word at a meeting in Victor Harbor on the Oceanic Victor in-sea aquarium proposal for Granite Island.

More than 60 people attended and most were concerned about the proposal that will include swimming with tuna in an in-sea aquarium in the waters off Granite Island.One comment which summed up the mood of the gathering was the “in-sea aquarium would be one giant burly bucket.”

Attendees were involved in aquatic organisations such as diving, school swimming, sailing, paddling andsurfing and there were a number of concerns raised about the project.

They included environmental concerns, the attraction of sharks around the nets, the proposal is hasty and being rushed through, restrictions of sailing events with the location of the in-sea aquarium, a poor business model due to poor water visibility and the expense to visit the in-sea aquarium.

The in-sea aquarium is currently located at Port Lincoln and if the project is approved it will be towed to Granite Island.The directors of Oceanic Victor are Mike Dyer and Tony Santic.

Beach guardian and one of the organisers of the night Nisa Schebella said they wanted to gauge from the community who is going to be impacted by the project.

“We want the facts and we want to be clear about the process,” Nisa said.

“We do not want to be seen as negative, but certain development is not what Victor is.

“My vision for Victor is a place which is pristine, where we can surf, swim and see the whales. Tuna is not what Victor is.”

Currently the Development Assessment Commission (DAC) hasre-opened submissions on the project.

Submissions close on November 26, and town plannerSimon Coote and David Cooneywill be at the Victor Harbor Yacht Club onSunday, November 22, from 4pm to7pm for anyone who needs assistanceto write their submission or get some extra information.

“I have offered my professional experience to assist people putting in a submission to DAC,” Simon said.

“I am aware for the average person it is often a bureaucratic confusing process.

“I am against the proposal, as it does not acknowledge the existing use of the Encounter coast and near shore watersand gives no consideration of the financial impact on existing businesses and activities such as surf schools, national sailing titles and surf lifesaving clubs.”

A spokesperson from state government department DEWNR said there has been no decision on the Oceanic Victor project and PIRSA is still assessing the aquaculture pilot lease.

“Contrary to reports the lease for the kiosk, toilets and other facilities on Granite Island is still under negotiation with no decision made,” the spokesperson said.

“It is also important to note that PIRSA has only responded to questions on the project in its submission, but at this stage has not approved the project.”

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FULL STEAM AHEAD: Robyn Scott and Nadia Mellor finetune for the women’s only triathlon at Allans Flat on Sunday. Picture: DAVIS HARRIGAN
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A CAPACITY field will compete in the women’s only triathlon at Allans Flat on Sunday.

Since starting out with 35 competitors in 2009, numbers have ballooned to 250.

More than $10,000 has been donated to Border women’s organisations in that time.

OrganisersNadia Mellor and Jo Homer said the growth of the event had been incredible.

“The event started with an idea to raise the profile of triathlon as a sport with women, and to also raise funds for local women’s services,” Mellor said.

“This huge increase means the Look Good Feel Better Program will get a substantial donation for women going through cancer treatments.

“The race will have many first timers who have been encouraged by previous participants to come and have a go in a very supportive environment.”

While many of the women will have their sights set on personal best times, others will simply be keen to finish.

The action kicks off at 8.30am.

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