A NSW council with a population smaller than Terrigal and Avoca combined could de-amalgamate.
An independent inquiry by the NSW Boundaries Commission has recommended Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council should split.
It’s put a spring in the step of other council areas wanting to de-merge, despite one of the four commissioners giving a dissenting view.
The Demerge NSW Alliance and Residents for Deamalgamation are hosting a rally to call on all parties to listen and act on residents’ wishes to demerge their councils.
Local Government Minister Wendy Tuckerman has 28 days to respond to the Boundaries Commission which recommended de-almagamation and new elections as soon as feasible at Gundagai and Cootamundra.
The Commission noted that the next council elections in NSW are scheduled for September 2024.
“This date is more than two years after the date that the Minister is required by section 218CC of the Act to make a decision on this Proposal,” the Commission said.
“Given the degree of concern expressed by a number of residents at some actions taken by the former CGRC Administrators, the Commission believes that, if the Proposal is implemented, the return to elected representation as early as is feasible
would enable the communities to move forward.”
The combined population of the two areas is 11,403.
The combined population of Lake Munmorah and Mannering Park is 11, 291.
Avoca and Terrigal combined is 14,784.
The Central Coast has a population of 346,596 according to the 2021 Census which also provided the breakdown for the above towns.
Central Coast Council formed from the amalgamation of the former Wyong and Gosford councils.
Central Coast Council covers 1681 square kilometres – “which makes us far bigger geographically than Canberra,” Council’s website says.
Community representatives from the Coast are expected at the rally along with speakers from other merged councils such as Guyra, Bombala, Tumbarumba, Northern Beaches and Hilltops.
Demerger proposals from the Canterbury Bankstown and Inner West are under preparation and heading for the Minister
Tomorrow’s rally has the support of Save our Councils NSW.
Based in Mosman, its president Brian Halstead, who is a former chair of a metropolitan council audit committee, spoke at the Public Inquiry in Central Coast Council’s financial issues.
Mr Halstead suggested to the Commissioner that Council’s debt was never as high as interim administrator Dick Persson suggested and he could only ascertain it got as high as about $444M which was $120M less than Mr Persson predicted the debt would amount to – by the end of the financial year – in his 30 day report in December 2020.
The headline speakers at the rally include:
# Councillor Abb McAlister, Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council
# Jamie Parker, Greens MP
# Robert Borsak, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP
# Liz Atkins, Greens Inner West Council
# Barbara Coorey, Independent Canterbury Bankstown Council.
# Greg Warren, Labor MP
Demerge NSW Alliance (DNA) launched on November 9, 2021, with support from NSW Labor, the Greens, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Independent MP Joe McGirr and the Mayor of the Inner West Council Rochelle Porteous.
Grantley Ingram, DNA convenor and president of Save Bombala, told the launch that communities wanting to demerge their councils would not give up.
“The 2016 policy that forcibly merged councils across NSW has not worked for the community and not delivered on its own goals: a large number of councils that are failing to deliver financially are in a worse situation,” Demerge NSW Alliance said.
The rally will be held at NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney, on Tuesday, August 9 from 1pm.