A large crowd attended the Cabonne ANTY Amalgamation Campaign Meeting held at Canowindra High School on Thursday night. The evening was hosted by Jock Haynes, Chairman of the Group and speakers included Cr. Kevin Walker, Mayor Ian Gosper, Marj Bollinger and our local member Andrew Gee MP.
It was very apparent at the meeting that the NSW Government, including Mike Baird, Premier and Paul Toole are simply not listening to the people of Cabonne. Council has voted unanimously to stand alone, 2600 signatures have been obtained on a petition which has gone to the Premier, and 93% of the people surveyed in 2013 opposed the amalgamation. There are a number of reasons why the majority are against the amalgamation, and they include
losing interest in our community, the immediate loss of representation for small villages like Canowindra and Molong, not wanting to be governed by a City based council, which would impact on our rates, facilities and management of services and the cost of amalgamation, which is way
more than the Government has predicted.
One of the main factors surrounding this is that the process from IPART has been rigged from the start, and in fact, as stated by Andrew Gee, they are not adhering to the Local Government Act which states that the Local Boundaries Commission, must, under law, consult with the local community, which they have not done. Andrew said, “We must hold them to account and follow the due process”.
Of the 65 NSW Councils, only 26 were deemed Fit for the Future, 8 of which are smaller than Cabonne. There were 39 UNFit, however only 16 of these Councils have a NSW Government merger proposal before them. So, the big question is, WHY was Cabonne selected and why are the remaining 23 Councils who aren’t Fit for the Future allowed to remain as is?
If Cabonne were to merge with Orange and Blayney as is proposed, this would dramatically cut our representation down, as Orange would end up with 2/3 of the Councillors and the remaining 1/3 would be split between Blayney and Cabonne, despite Cabonne having the largest land mass of the three.
Mayor Ian Gosper said “ with the proposed representation, this wouldn’t be seen as a merger, this would be a takeover, as the Orange Councillors would always have the power of the vote.’ He said, “our options are to raise the white flag, or continue to fight!’
Andrew Gee re-iterated Ian’s comments and said,’ I am prepared to keep on fighting, and see this process through to the very end. Due to the huge amount of support shown across the shire for this campaign, we can make a difference, and we need people power to achieve this.’
We urge everybody to register today to attend the Boundaries Commission public meeting to be held on 5th February from 9.00 at the Molong RSL Club. You must register by 12 noon 29th January on www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au or call 1300 813 020.