As stated in my previous Media Release earlier this week Council voted to join Walcha and Cabonne in a legal challenge based around the claim that the Minister for Local Government misused Sections 218F of the Local Government Act to implement proposed forced amalgamations and that the subsequent Boundaries Commission process was procedurally inadequate and unfair.
Eminent Sydney Barrister Peter King has offered to act for Walcha and the two associated rural councils, an extremely generous commitment. As a result legal costs for Oberon to join Walcha and Cabonne will be minimal. I can now advise that the action was filed in the Land & Environment court on Monday April 18.
It is councils view that with the deadline for the Ministers/Premiers decision on proposed mergers fast approaching, and given the reticence of our Local Member and Minister for Local Government Paul Toole to either speak to Council or visit Oberon to discuss why he thinks a merger with Bathurst Regional Council would have any benefit for Oberon, we feel we are left with few options. The concerns of the Oberon community are neither being heard nor acknowledged; to be treated with such distain by our elected representatives is demeaning. Although a significant decision our community has overwhelmingly and consistently indicated its opposition to a merger with Bathurst Regional Council and as such Council feels comfortable with endorsing this course of action.
Walcha has the support of its Federal Member Barnaby Joyce and Local Member Kevin Anderson in this action. Although this is a NSW State Government issue many Federal MP's are realising that the fallout has the real potential to impact strongly in the upcoming Federal Election.
Mayor Kathy Sajowitz