A public meeting has been called for Monday evening to help Port Stephens and Newcastle residents defend local democracy, Deputy Lord Mayor, Greens Cr Michael Osborne announced today.
“The State Government have initiated a poorly-advertised, tick-a-box, sham consultation process,” Greens Cr Michael Osborne said.
“When they made their forced council amalgamation announcement just before Christmas last year, they should have also announced a referendum of all affected residents,” Cr Osborne said.
“For a council amalgamation to have any legitimacy, it should only proceed where residents and ratepayers of each local government area have voted in favour of amalgamation in a valid referendum,” Cr Osborne said.
“A forced amalgamation between Newcastle City and Port Stephens is not the answer,” Greens Cr Therese Doyle said.
“When amalgamations have been forced on locals in other states like Victoria and Queensland, rates have gone up, services have stagnated and residents end up less connected to their local councillors,” Cr Doyle said.
“When the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into local government handed down its final report last year, they recommended that the Baird government commit to a policy of no forced amalgamations after finding that much of the ‘Fit for the Future’ assessment process was flawed,” Cr Doyle said.
“The Baird Government is proposing 35 forced amalgamations across the state claiming that they will create savings and efficiencies in local government, but has failed to release the key financial modelling report being relied upon,” Cr Doyle said.
“We are encouraging all residents to come along and hear the facts about the proposed forced amalgamation,” Cr Osborne said.
A submission guide will be provided on the night.
Public Meeting: Keep our Councils Local!
When: Monday 8th February 6pm to 8pm
Where: Gallipoli Legion Club; upstairs, 3-5 Beaumont St, Hamilton (Newcastle)
David Shoebridge, Greens NSW Upper House MP, Spokesperson on Local Government
Kate Washington, Labor MP for Port Stephens, Shadow Minister for Hunter
Tim Crakanthorp, Labor MP for Newcastle, Councillor on Newcastle City Council
Therese Doyle, Greens Councillor on Newcastle City Council
John Brown, representing Port Stephens Greens
Contact: Cr Michael Osborne 0439 442 984 Cr Therese Doyle 0434 257 892