The decision by the Land and Environment Court to prevent the State Government from announcing the forced merger of Shellharbour and Wollongong City Councils today is a welcome development.
The State Government had planned on announcing the forced merge of the two local government areas this morning.
The injunction by the Land and Environment Court restrains the State Government from any further action on forcing the merger of Shellharbour and Wollongong Councils until the “resolution of the substantive proceedings (including any appeal).”
Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson has attacked the Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Gareth Ward MP, calling on him to resign.
Mr Ward publicly stated in the Illawarra Mercury on 4 September 2012 under the headline ‘No council merger under Ward’s watch’ that:
…I would oppose the amalgamation of Kiama, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven and Wingecarribbee absolutely.
Comments attributable to Anna Watson MP:
“I welcome the injunction of the Land and Environment Court restraining the Government from pressing ahead with the forced merger of Shellharbour and Wollongong local government areas today as originally planned.
“This is an extraordinary development and just confirms the grubby political deal which surrounds this whole stinking mess.
“This exposes the shady nature of the Government rushing out these announcements ensuring maximum chaos to fix a purely political problem of the Government’s own making during a federal election campaign.
“Gareth Ward simply has no credibility left as the Parliamentary Secretary representing the Illawarra.
“He has betrayed the rest of the Illawarra just to save his own career.
“Mr Ward must resign and head to the backbench.
“He has no interest in representing the majority of the Illawarra region.”
12 May 2016