Anti-amalgamation back-down in debate shows govt intentions
LOCAL Government NSW says the government has "finally tipped its hand" about plans to force councils into amalgamation.
Bathurst MP Paul Toole announced there would be no forced amalgamations when he was sworn in as Local Government Minister in April last year.
But last week he refused to support a motion guaranteeing the government's official stance would remain.
Coffs Harbour councillor and LGNSW president Keith Rhoades said the back-down was indicative of the government's true intentions.
"That debate was crunch time, and (Mr Toole) stood on the floor of the parliament and stated unequivocally that the government would not support a motion opposing the forced amalgamation of councils," he said.
"It really does suggest that the whole Fit for the Future process is simply tick-a-box, with the government firmly committed to diluting local democratic representation for purely ideological reasons.
"It was instructive to see the arguments trotted out against the motion, which included claims that amalgamations would 'drive down rates', that 'bigger is better', and that forced amalgamation is 'dead-set non-issue' for our communities."