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Community members opposed to local council mergers are being called on to join a rally against forced amalgamations outside the NSW Parliament on Wednesday.
Nanjing Night Net

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’.”

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

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