As most people would know by now the Premier of NSW Mike Baird and Minister for Local Government Hon Paul Toole sacked the elected representatives of 42 councils last week. In their place unelected handpicked Administrators along with General Managers were installed to run 19 new councils across the State. The proposed merger between Oberon and Bathurst Regional Council is the subject of a legal challenge, however “in principal” support was given to the merger subject to the determination of the court as a result of that challenge. The Oberon/Bathurst Boundaries Commission Delegate Renata Brooks who presided over the public consultation process recommended the proposed merger go ahead.
Communities across the state have reacted strongly to this high handed undemocratic action taken by the State Government. It has been reported that some councillors immediately had their email accounts closed down at the same time as the Administrators were requesting (by email) that all council equipment such as phones and Ipads etc be returned to council immediately. I have sympathy for councillors many of whom have served their communities tirelessly for many years to not only be sacked on the spot, but then be allegedly treated in this fashion.
On Oberon’s behalf I am seeking meetings with NSW and Federal Ministers as well as candidates for the Federal Seat of Calare before the court hearing scheduled for May 24/25th 2016. By being ignored by both our Local member Paul Toole the Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier and Leader of the National Party Troy Grant, the Oberon community has been disenfranchised throughout this whole flawed forced amalgamation process.
My last word I promise (at least for this week) I was dismayed at the flippant reporting on social media as to what a newly formed council should be called. As yet, no decision has been made in relation to the proposed merger; the attitude of some that this is a done deal is disrespectful at the very least. Off the cuff comments merely add to the speculation that the outcome of the proposed merger is already thought to be known by some, despite the legal challenge.
Congratulations to all the Waste to Art winners last week. I wish you all the best of luck at the Regional Competition to be held late June in Condobolin.
It was pleasure to visit Oberon High School this week; it is uplifting to see so many positive initiatives happening in our schools. I look forward to Oberon Council supporting some of these initiatives.
The new bus shelters are currently being installed on Edith Road and one in Titania Estate, they are a great improvement.
Council will be hosting public meetings in the town in the near future also we will be visiting the villages to talk about the Operational Plan for 16/17 as part of the CSP. We hope for plenty of input re future plans that affect us all, this is your opportunity to input into the roadmap for the LGA.
Mayor Kathy Sajowitz