Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward is politically gutless and a sell-out as a report in today’s Daily Telegraph reveals he has asked the Premier to over-turn a proposal to force the amalgamation of Kiama and Shoalhaven Councils while leaving all other Illawarra Councils to fend for themselves, Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson said today.

“There are three things that are certain in life: death, taxes and Gareth Ward selling out the Illawarra to save his political career.

“Mr Ward made a public pledge in 2012 that an amalgamation of Illawarra Councils would not take place on his watch.

Today the Daily Telegraph has revealed that he is only prepared to oppose the forced amalgamation of Kiama Council.

“As Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Mr Ward has a broader obligation to serve the interests of the entire region – not just Kiama.

“If he can’t meet that obligation, Mr Ward should tender his resignation.

“If the Premier is entertaining Mr Ward’s request that Kiama Council should remain a stand-alone Council, then his Government’s proposals to force the amalgamation of Shellharbour and Wollongong Councils must also be withdrawn.

“The arguments against the forced amalgamation of Kiama Council also apply to every other council in the Illawarra.

“Mr Ward cannot cherry-pick which council in the Illawarra he will support to stand-alone, while walking away from that same status for every other regional council.

“I again request that he use his position as Parliamentary Secretary to convene an urgent meeting with the Minister for Local Government on behalf of all the Mayors in the Illawarra region.

“Trying to do secret deals with the Premier to save his political hide is simply selling out and entirely gutless,” Ms Watson said.


26 January 2016