Labor Welcomes NSW NATIONALS LEADER’S Change of Tune Regarding Demerger

Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren, has welcomed NSW Nationals

leader and Deputy Premier, John’s Barilaro’s shift in stance regarding the demerger of

Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council.

After years of denials and a refusal to support the community’s wishes to demerge, Mr

Barilaro recently admitted “it hasn’t worked and the communities of Cootamundra and

Gundagai have made it very clear they want to see the council demerged”.

“Had we listened to communities at the beginning of the council merger process way

back in 2016 – I can guarantee we wouldn’t be here,” Mr Barilaro added.

NSW Labor has strongly opposed the NSW Government’s 2016 botched forced

amalgamations that resulted in the shotgun marriage between Cootamundra and

Gundagai.

NSW Labor also has a policy to allow all merged councils to hold a referendum

regarding possible demergers – with NSW Labor to support communities who wish the

demerge.

The NSW Government has refused to do likewise.

Mr Warren has visited Cootamundra and Gundagai several times in the past 18 months

and has spoken to numerous residents and councillors who have been left furious and

frustrated with the government’s draconian attitude.

“The one thing I have heard repeatedly from Cootmaundra and Gundagai residents is

that they feel neglected and ignored by the NSW Government,” Mr Warren said.

They have begged and pleaded for the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to listen and

demerge their communities, yet those calls have continually fallen on deaf ears.

“I welcome the Deputy Premier and NSW National leader’s change in heart – it is better

late than never.”

Mr Warren again called on the Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock, to

publicly release the Local Government Boundary Commission’s (LGBC) findings into

the possible demergers of Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council and Snowy

Valleys Council.

“It is important every document related to the Local Government Boundary

Commission’s investigation and findings, is released,” he said.

“It’s been almost four months since the LGBC handed its findings to the Minister yet she

has stubbornly refused to make those documents public or make an actual decision.

“The communities of Cootamundra, Gundagai and Snowy Valleys deserve much better

from the Minister.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t take another five years for the Deputy Premier to supports other

communities like Snowy Valleys, who may also wish to demerge.”

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