Baird’s unpopular forced council amalgamations are continuing to cause confusion and chaos, with advice from the Office of Local Government today indicating that there could be as many as four separate election dates for local councils.
The so-called “clarification was sent by circular to all local councils this week. It sets out four possible election dates, with council elections being held in September 2016 and the possibility of further elections in September 2017, March 2018 and September 2019. Under this timetable some local councils could be run by unelected Administrators for up to three years.
Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“Formal advice has now been provided from the Office of Local government that says local councils in NSW could be subject to up to four different election dates.
“In a circular that was said to be “clarifying the timing of election cycles” the Office of Local Government has instead demonstrated how confused Baird’s forced merger agenda has become.
“Some councils have had their election in September 2016, some will be in September 2017, some may be in March 2018 and others not be held until September 2019 or even September 2020. That’s meant to clear things up?
“There are a series of factors at play here. Communities and councils have resisted forced mergers in the courts, the Minister has failed to make decisions on existing merger and counter-merger proposals and the electoral commission has now said it needs extra time.
“If you wanted a case study in how not to reform a sector then you couldn’t go past the amateur job being performed on local government by Mike Baird and Paul Toole.
“Premier Baird’s forced council amalgamations are descending into farce with the Office of Local Government now saying that some future merged councils may not hold an election until September 2020.
“If Premier Baird had listened to communities and abandoned his ideological agenda to smash local government then every council would have held an elections in September this year.
“Residents and ratepayers could have voted on council amalgamations in September elections. This would have been democratic, fair and consistent.
“Instead we have seen an arrogant Coalition government refusing to consult, refusing to give residents a say and ending up in a political and logistical muddle.
“The Greens continue to stand with local communities and remain committed to giving residents the final say on both mergers and de-mergers of their local councils. The damage being done to local councils by Mike Baird and his mob will be reversed,” Mr Shoebridge said.