“There will be no forced amalgamations” came the reassurance from the previous State Labor Government in 2003, and after what turned out to be a pretence of community consultation where the message against was loud and clear, Tallaganda became part of the new Eastern Capital City Regional Council (ECCRC).
“There will be no forced amalgamations” parroted the new State Coalition Government in 2011 but the word is out that Palerang is to be amalgamated with Queanbeyan City Council. Not only would such a move threaten the jobs of many locally employed people, and reduce the opportunity for convenient person-to-person access, it would most likely lay open the way for wall-to-wall suburbs between Bungendore and Queanbeyan, if the record of QCC on development is anything to go by, combined with the State Government's series of planning reforms that are bulldozing their way into our lives.
It would be polite for the State Government to alert affected communities to its plans (and one can only assume that those plans extend further than here) by letting them know through official channels, rather than leaving us to find out via the rumour mill. Surely it would be preferable for the Government to spend more of its newly discovered budget funds on local councils, stop cost-shifting to councils and lobby the Federal Government hard for recognition of local government in the Constitution, thus ensuring that a share of the federal budget is diverted to all the struggling councils around the country. But perhaps this is only the beginning, and the State Government's true intent is to further strengthen its own empire by abolishing local councils altogether. Because until local government is recognised constitutionally, it would only take a vote in NSW Parliament to do exactly that. Let the campaign for retaining local and accessible government begin in earnest!
Greens candidate for Eden-Monaro