A public meeting has been called for Monday evening, 8 February to help Port Stephens and Newcastle residents defend local democracy by opposing the State Government’s proposal to merge the two Councils
“The State Government have initiated a poorly-advertised, tick-a-box, sham consultation process,” said Newcastle Greens Cllr Michael Osborne.
“When they made their forced council amalgamation announcement just before Christmas last year, they should have also announced a referendum of all affected residents,” Cllr Osborne said.
“For a council amalgamation to have any legitimacy, it should only proceed where residents and ratepayers of each local government area have voted in favour of amalgamation in a valid referendum,” Cllr Osborne said.
“A forced amalgamation between Newcastle City and Port Stephens is not the answer,” Newcastle Greens Cllr Therese Doyle said.
“When amalgamations have been forced on locals in other states like Victoria and Queensland, rates have gone up, services have stagnated and residents end up less connected to their local councillors,” Cllr Doyle said.
“When the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into local government handed down its final report last year, they recommended that the Baird government commit to a policy of no forced amalgamations after finding that much of the ‘Fit for the Future’ assessment process was flawed,” Cllr Doyle said.
“The Baird Government has failed to release the key financial modelling report being relied upon,” Cr Doyle said.
“We are encouraging all residents to come along and hear the facts about the proposed forced amalgamation,” said John Brown, on behalf of Port Stephens Greens.
A submission guide will be provided on the night.
Public Meeting: Keep our Councils Local!
When: Monday 8th February 6pm to 8pm
Where: Gallipoli Legion Club; upstairs, 3-5 Beaumont St, Hamilton (Newcastle)
- David Shoebridge, Greens NSW Upper House MP, Spokesperson on Local Government
- Kate Washington, Labor MP for Port Stephens, Shadow Minister for Hunter
- Tim Crakanthorp, Labor MP for Newcastle, Councillor on Newcastle City Council
- Therese Doyle, Greens Councillor on Newcastle City Council
- John Brown, representing Port Stephens Greens