The State Government has refused to provide total numbers of submissions in support of, and in opposition to, forced council amalgamations in the Illawarra region, Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson said today.
Ms Watson asked the Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole MP a series of Questions on Notice on 17 February seeking the total number of submissions provided by local residents and local organisations in the local government areas of Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven both in support of, and in opposition to, the State Government’s proposal to force the amalgamation of these local councils.
The Minister’s response tabled in the State Parliament just before the Easter long weekend indicates that:
Delegates of the Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government are independently examining and reporting on the merger proposals.
Ms Watson said that she was surprised the Minister could not publicly provide figures for the total number of submissions received during the public inquiry process on the State Government’s forced amalgamation proposals for Wollongong/Shellharbour Councils and Kiama/Shoalhaven Councils.
“I would have thought my request for the total number of submissions – both for and against – the forced amalgamation of Illawarra councils would have been quite easy to provide.
“This is yet another example of the State Government’s arrogance which has been on display throughout this entire process.
“I simply cannot understand why the Minister refuses to provide very simple information on how many people in the Illawarra support and oppose his forced amalgamation agenda.
“What does the Minister have to hide”, she said.
29 March 2016