Last chance to have your say over merger proposal

SHOALHAVEN residents have been reminded this Sunday is their last chance to make a submission on the proposed council  mergers between Shoalhaven and Kiama.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward has urged locals to make submissions to the Council Boundary Review.

“These amalgamations will be decided upon by the Minister for Local Government on recommendations of the Boundary Commission and its evidence,” he said.

“He will be relying upon that information to make that determination.

“It is very important people concerned about the future of our local councils make a submission.”

Submissions close Sunday, February 28 at 5pm eastern standard time.

Mr Ward said he was still against the merger proposal and would be making his own submission.

“I have argued that Kiama and Shoalhaven are two distinct communities and those councils can and should stand alone,” he said.

He dismissed strong criticism by Kiama Councillor Neil Reilly after he failed to support a Labor motion in State Parliament to oppose the Liberal government's plan for forced council mergers.

“It was a debate to have a debate on the merger issue. Kiama and Shoalhaven weren’t even mentioned in what was a general motion,” Mr Ward said.

“Why would I cross the floor and vote against the very government that I need to keep on side in order to turn this issue around. The Opposition motion had no policy or legislative affect.

“Ultimately it is a decision that won’t be made by the parliament. The final decision will be made by the Local Government Minister.

“I have always said I’m not against local government reform and certainly in parts of Sydney there is a need for mergers.

“But there was never any mention of Shoalhaven or Kiama in this.

“Merging Kiama and Shoalhaven would make a huge area and that is one of the main reasons I oppose the merger. The area would simply be too big.

“Both councils have decided to unanimously oppose the merger and Shelley [South Coast MP Shelley Hancock] and I are both in support of that stance.”

Submissions will be accepted by the Council Boundary Review until 5pm Sunday, February 28 and can be submitted at www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au.

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