Labor MPs on the Central Coast are once again pushing for a referendum on a possible de-amalgamation of Central Coast Council.
Renewed calls for a referendum come in the wake of recent reports that Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, is pushing for Cootamundra–Gundagai Regional Council, which was amalgamated in 2016, along with many others, to revert to the separate Cootamundra and Gundagai Shires.
“Had we listened to communities at the beginning of the council merger process in 2016, I can guarantee we wouldn’t be here,” Barilaro was reported as saying.
We couldn’t agree more, say Central Coast Labor MPs, David Harris, Yasmin Catley, David Mehan and Liesl Tesch.
In February, they signed a joint letter calling on the NSW Government to hold a referendum on the demerger of Central Coast Council.
Shadow Minister for Central Coast, David Harris, said residents were never shown the evidence which supported amalgamation.
“The forced merger of Wyong and Gosford Councils has clearly been a failure,” he said.
“Our community believes that the forced amalgamation has plagued us with three Administrators, revolving door management and left us with higher rates, sacked Council staff, services cut to the bone and our vital community assets have been put up for sale,” he said.
Swansea MP, Yasmin Catley, said the forced amalgamation had left the Central Coast community to foot the bill for the Liberals’ failed council amalgamations.
“Right around the state we are seeing amalgamated councils under performing.
“It is time that the Central Coast community was given the opportunity to have its voice heard on amalgamation,” she said.
The Entrance MP, David Mehan, said that his constituents wanted to be asked whether they approved of the amalgamation or to see Council demerged.
“John Barilaro is right, it hasn’t worked and if they did listen to our community, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.
Media release, June 18
Central Coast Labor MPs