18 December 2015
The Coalition’s forced amalgamations announced today have recommended that Newcastle and Port Stephens councils merge without a shred of evidence in support.
The Newcastle – Port Stephens forced merger plan must now go through a drawn out public inquiry with the Boundaries Commission; a process that will only strengthen the resolve of residents to stand up for their local councils.
This is a political struggle that will define NSW politics in 2016, not just in Newcastle and Port Stephens but across NSW, and Mike Baird is already on the back foot
Newcastle Greens Councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor Michael Osborne. said:
“The people of Newcastle or Port Stephens have not even been asked by this arrogant State Government if they want to merge.
“Local residents want a local council that is responsive to their needs, not an unresponsive bureaucracy like the State Government.
“There should be a plebiscite of all local residents to decide the size, shape and future of their local government,” Cr Osborne said
Newcastle Greens Councillor Therese Doyle said:
“The communities of Port Stephens and Newcastle are quite distinct. It’s quite obvious that neither will be well served by a mega-council that will be quite remote from the concerns of residents.
“The community of interest that links Newcastle and Port Stephens can be handled through existing channels of cooperation.
”There is no evidence to suggest that a mega council will be more efficient or viable than the two separate councils,” Cr Doyle said.
Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“The plan to force a merger between Newcastle and Port Stephens shows how an arrogant and distant state government has no idea what’s happening outside of Sydney.
“This is far from over, with a series of public inquiries starting in the New Year that will certainly galvanise even more public support for their councils.
“People aren’t mugs, they know that the bigger their council becomes the less say they will have in what goes on in their local patch.
“Newcastle politics can already be messy enough without throwing the toxic extra mix of Port Stephens into the brew.
“The Greens believe that local residents, not distant and arrogant Premiers, should decide the future of their local councils and we will work with residents to keep their councils local,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Media contact David Shoebridge 0408 113 952, Therese Doyle 0418 905 417, Michael Osborne 0418 971 951
Greens MP in the NSW Legislative Council
P: (02) 9230 3030 T: @ShoebridgeMLC
SIGN UP TO STAY IN TOUCH at davidshoebridge.org.au/sign-up
NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street Sydney NSW, 2000 Australia