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
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
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
“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.”