Amalgamation No Thank You Chairman Jock Haynes and Marj Bollinger have welcomed the opportunity to meet with recently appointed Deputy Premier John Barilaro last Friday to bring to his attention and provide documentation as to why he should seriously consider standing up for Cabonne to remain a stand alone Council.
Marj Bollinger said, “The meeting was a feeling of fresh air compared to the negativity and rejection we have been experiencing from those who have gone before.”
Jock Haynes said, “Mr Barilaro did not confirm whether Cabonne would be forced to amalgamate pending further court action, but confirmed that no merger would proceed unless it had first been through him, and that he was now much more aware of the reasons why Cabonne has fought so hard to stand alone, and would take up the issue with Mr Toole.
He said he now has a much greater understanding of the uniqueness of Cabonne and how it specialises in managing small towns and villages at a local government level and also understands how the inherent flaws in the small town jobs quarantee mean that the intent of the legislation, whilst admirable, may be overridden by a mega council.
He said he was happy to look at alternate options if there are options out there – one might be to exclude Cabonne from the merger, this led to discussion around the benefits for both the residents of Cabonne and the Nationals (from a political level) of Cabonne being excluded from the proposed merger.
“When asked the question as to what Blayney wanted – we assured him that would be for the residents of Blayney to decide – not for us to say” said Marj Bollinger.
After repeated refusals from Premier Mike Baird, former deputy premier Troy Grant and Local Government Minister Paul Toole for meetings in the past year, Mrs Bollinger said, “Mr Barilaro assured our group he would speak with them again.”
“People made their voices heard through the ballot box and that has to be a big wake-up call,” she said.
“From Mr Barilaro’s comment that before a forced merger was taken to the Governor it would have to be seen by him first. We concluded that he is the one to stop it going ahead.
We are looking forward to the opportunity of continuing to work closely with Mr Barilaro in the near future to deliver a favourable outcome for the residents of Cabonne,” Marj said.