Council Amalgamations Fit for the Future program: “Fit for the dustbin” – Greens unite against Liberal’s local government amalgamation plans – 16th March 2015

Greens councillors from Woollahra, Waverley and Randwick Council joined with State Greens Candidates for Vaucluse and Coogee and State MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge today to unite in support of local democracy.

Meeting at the point where Woollahra, Waverly and Randwick councils intersect (Centennial Park cnr of Oxford St and York Road), local and State representatives are uniting in opposition to the Liberal party’s forced amalgamation by stealth agenda that they have branded “Fit for the dustbin”.

Present were State Greens MP David Shoebridge, Greens Vaucluse Candidate Megan McEwin, Greens Coogee candidate Lindsay Shurey and Greens councillors Murray Matson, Dominik Wykanak and Matthew Robertson.

Greens MP, and former Woollahra Deputy Mayor, David Shoebridge said:

“The Liberal party is being untruthful when it says its ‘Fit for the Future’ agenda is not about forced amalgamations, the essential pre-requisite the government has set for so-called fitness is having a minimum 250,000 residents.

“There is not a single council in eastern Sydney that comes any where near that number. A council with 250,000 residents has lost its local flavour and will become just another anonymous layer of bureaucracy.

“If council’s don’t amalgamate the Liberal party plans to punish them financially by capping their rates revenue and refusing them financial assistance.

“When Liberal Minister for Local Government Paul Toole says he wants local council’s ‘Fit for Future’ what he really means is he wants super councils that align with business agendas and lose all connection to local neighbourhoods and communities,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Greens Candidate for Coogee and Randwick Councillor Lindsay Shurey said:

“Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra councils are all financially robust and each have the strong support of their residents to stand alone. However the government isn’t listening.

“The ‘Fit for the Future’ agenda requires State government legislation to be implemented, this is why the upcoming State election is so important to the future of local government.

“The Greens are committed to using every vote in Parliament to stand up for local democracy and against forced amalgamations,” Ms Shurey said.

Greens Candidate for Vaucluse Megan McEwin said:

“When I speak with local residents none of them are telling me they want Woollahra Council to be swallowed up by Waverley and Randwick, but this is precisely the Liberal party’s plan.

“Every local Liberal MP has said they oppose forced amalgamations, but they then turn around and say they support the Fit for the Future program. It seems like they haven’t read it.

“I am committed to grassroots democracy and community control over local matters, this is why as a Greens candidate I am passionate about keeping local government local,” Ms McEwin said.

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