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Demerge Alliance NSW Media Release: Labor urged not to gut demerger pathway from Local Government Act

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Amanda Cohn
NSW Greens MP
20 June 2023

Concerns that Labor wants to remove the 2021 clause to the Local Government Act which mandates government funding for council demergers are a serious worry to the Demerge NSW Alliance (DNA).
DNA spokesperson Grantley Ingram said he had requested an urgent meeting with Minister Ron Hoenig, but more than a week later has yet to receive a response.
“Labor went to the election promising to respect the wishes of communities in merged councils for whom the 2016 forced amalgamations are not working, Ingram said.
“It cannot honour that promise by withdrawing the means for councils to do exactly that.” 
“The former Coalition government’s forced amalgamation policy, which cost more than $500 million, did not deliver more democracy, efficiency or services – and this is an ongoing source of frustration and anger as rates keep rising.”
The DNA has recently spoken with cross bench MPs who said they would support DNA Six Steps Policy to amend the Local Government Act to make it mandatory for the Minister to deamalgamate councils where it has been shown a majority wants it.
“Communities are already suffering from this failed Coalition policy and will not be able to finance a demerger on their own if that is what Labor’s changes to the Act are about. It would be a huge backflip by Labor as it was their amendment to support communities and pay costs of deamalgamtion.”
“The Act was only changed in 2021 to provide a roadmap for those councils wanting to deamalgamate. This reflected community opposition across NSW. The Minister must make good on Labor's promises to listen to rural and city councils where forced amalgamations have not worked.”

For more information:  Grantley Ingram O428 583 559 | Brian Halstead 0414 281 604

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Amanda Cohn
NSW Greens MP
20 June 2023
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