Labor Candidate for Lane Cove, Andrew Zbik today said that the days of Lane Cove Council were clearly numbered with the Liberals refusing to rule out forced council amalgamations.
The NSW Opposition asked both the Premier Mike Baird and the Local Government Minister Paul Toole in question time on Tuesday 4th November to rule out forced council amalgamations before or after the next election – both refused to make such a commitment.
The questions were asked following the NSW Treasurer commenting at a business breakfast that:
“I think eventually we’re going to have to pull out the stick. We have offered up the carrot first, we’re going to have to pull out the stick.”
– Treasurer Andrew Constance, Daily Telegraph, 23/10/14
“The Liberals and Nationals need to come clean with our community that our local council will be amalgamated with neighbouring councils,” said Mr Zbik.
The Liberals Independent Local Government Review Panel has recommended that Lane Cove Council should merge with Hunters Hills, Mosman, North Sydney, Willoughby and the eastern two-thirds of Ryde Council.
Mr Zbik was the Labor Candidate for Lane Cove Council’s West Ward in the 2012 Local Government Election. “Since 2012, local residents of Lane Cove have made it very clear to me that they do not want to see Lane Cove Council merged with any neighbouring Council.
“If our council does not “volunteer” to amalgamation by mid next year, the NSW Treasurer has let the cat out of the bag that our council will be forced to amalgamate.
“We all know that the Treasurer’s ‘stick’ is to force council’s to amalgamate – regardless of the community’s views.
“The Liberals and Nationals don’t care if local councils are balancing their books and delivering good services to the community – the only think they care about is how big the council is and ripping local councils out of the hands of local communities.
“They want bigger councils that will take decision making away from their local communities – families, small businesses and neighbourhoods will have no voice in the type of monster councils that the Liberals and Nationals want to force on our local community.
“Amalgamations are complex, they are expensive and as we’ve seen in Queensland they don’t always work – a number of councils have applied to de-amalgamate.
“Local councils are already working together on strategic partnerships to deliver services to their local communities while maintaining their unique identities.
“A local council must have the support of the local community if it is to be successful – ridding rough shot over local communities and forcing our council to amalgamate will not deliver better outcomes for the area.”