Minister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman announced on August 24 she has made the decision to demerge Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council.
She said it was a complex decision based on the merits of the proposal put forward by the Cootamundra-Gundagai Council and the subsequent recommendations by the independent boundaries commission.
“There are countless examples across the state of amalgamated councils performing strongly by lowering costs and delivering better infrastructure and services for residents,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
“It is disappointing that Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council has not been able to achieve this outcome.”
Mrs Tuckerman anticipated elections for the de-merged shires will be held in line with the local government general elections in September 2024.
The State Member for Cootamundra Steph Cook announced the Minister’s decision on her facebook page.
“Five years of toil and tears… but totally worth it,” Ms Cook said.
“To everyone who has believed in my leadership on this issue over the past 1,775 days, thank you for keeping the faith.”
The rally was jointly organised by Demerge NSW Alliance (DNA) and Sydney’s Residents for Deamalgamation.
Attendees included Guyra, Bombala, Tumbarumba, Northern Beaches and Hilltops residents.
Central Coast was not represented.
Demerger proposals from the Canterbury Bankstown and Inner West councils are under preparation to be sent to the Boundaries Commission.
Greg Warren, the Opposition spokesperson for Local Government, addressed the rally and restated Labor’s position on giving the community a vote on demerging.
The Central Coast was amalgamated in 2016, a merging of Wyong and Gosford councils.
In May of this year, Central Coast Friends Of Democracy called on the NSW Government to conduct a poll about the future of the Council.
“The 20 amalgamated councils around NSW faced losses of $1.03 billion in three years and ratepayers faced hikes in rates and cuts in services,” CC Friends of Democracy said.
“Eight out of 10 of the worst performing councils in NSW were merged councils.
“In May 2021, IPART determined rate increases for seven merged councils ranging from 8.0% to 53%.”
Co-ordinator of Friends of Democracy, Jane Smith, the first Mayor of the Central Coast, said CCFoD wants:
# The NSW Government to pay the $100 million it says the Government owes the Central Coast community and the Council to cover the true cost of its amalgamation.
# The NSW Government to hold a poll to ask the community if it wants to stay as one Central Coast Council or demerge while maintaining some shared services.
# The Parliamentary Inquiry into the 2016 mergers, as promised by NSW Labor, to proceed before the state election in March 2023.