Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson has today written to Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward calling on him to lead a delegation of Illawarra Mayors, Councillors, State MPs and community representatives to meet with the Minister for Local Government to make the State Government directly aware of the strength of opposition to its proposal to force local council amalgamations.

“It’s time for Mr Ward to use his position as Parliamentary Secretary to personally lead the region’s opposition to his Government’s proposal to force the amalgamation of Illawarra councils.

“He has a specific obligation to do so because he assured Illawarra Mayors that this proposal to force amalgamations of region councils would not take place under his watch”, she said.

Ms Watson’s letter tells Mr Ward:

While your Government is likely to dismiss your proposal for a Boundaries Commission poll just as it has the recommendations of its own report by the NSW Independent Local Government Review Panel, it will be much more difficult for the Minister to dismiss a bipartisan delegation from the Illawarra region which makes clear our opposition to your Government’s proposal to force amalgamations of local councils.

“Mr Ward loves a media stunt and his latest thought-bubble of a poll by the Boundaries Commission is another one because as he has personally noted in public comments today – his proposed poll is not compulsory and has no binding effect on the Government.

“A far more constructive approach is for Mr Ward to use his position as Parliamentary Secretary to lead a delegation as I have proposed to meet with the Minister for Local Government, Paul O’Toole MP as soon as possible”, Ms Watson said.

See Anna Watson’s letter to Gareth Ward, dated 6 January


6 January 2016