In a media release issued earlier today, Leader of the NSW Nationals John Barilaro vowed to bring an end to local government mergers in the bush.
“The policy of local government amalgamations has impacted 20 councils, 12 of which are in regional NSW causing uncertainty and anger, and others are locked in costly legal action – that all stops today,” Mr Barilaro said.
Mayor Kathy Sajowitz said “I am heartened by the release of such a strong statement from Deputy Premier John Barilaro today, it shows that he has listened to the community and taken on board their concerns over the loss of their basic democratic rights by forcing mergers upon them. What follow up action is taken by Mr Barilaro and the outcome of his resolve in this issue will be a test of his mettle as the leader of the National Party and his ability to represent the interests of the rural electorate in a predominantly Liberal influenced coalition government. I await the announcement of the new Premier and the cabinet next week with great interest.”
In a further media release late this afternoon Local Government Minister Paul Toole has confirmed a proposed merger between Bathurst Regional Council and Oberon Council will not go ahead. Mr Toole confirmed the merger was in tatters after Nationals leader John Barilaro issued a strongly worded press release on Friday withdrawing his party’s support for the policy.
Oberon Council eagerly awaits formal notification by the Minister for Local Government.