NSW government backflip on council amalgamations does not affect Queanbeyan-Palerang

ANGER: Hundreds of people attended a rally in Queanbeyan last Friday to protest against the forced council mergers. Photo: James Hall
ANGER: Hundreds of people attended a rally in Queanbeyan last Friday to protest against the forced council mergers. Photo: James Hall

The NSW government's backflip on regional council mergers will not affect those that have already amalgamated - including Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Tuesday the government would push on with mergers in Sydney but those pending in regional areas would no longer go ahead. 

Queanbeyan and Palerang councils were among 44 merged last May in a controversial move that led to legal action from a number of local government organisations.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council administrator Tim Overall said it was business as usual for the organisation after a video meeting with staff from Ms Berejiklian's office Tuesday afternoon.

"My focus has always been Queanbeyan, but my position has been that if the government was going to merge councils it was very important that we get behind the government's initiatives in that regard and make them highly successful, those mergers, and being appointed administrator, that's what I'm about," he said.

"My view is anecdotally, based on the feedback I'm receiving right across our local government area, whether it's in Queanbeyan, Braidwood, Bungendore or even further afield, is that there's general support for the merger."

Federal Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly attended a protest against forced amalgamations last week in support of the seven councils merged to three within his electorate.

"The result of these council mergers is the stripping away of democracy from our community - people were not given a vote on the mergers or the people who run these new councils," Dr Kelly said on Tuesday.

"Today's announcement did not even discuss bringing forward council election, so the extended reign of unelected administrators continues."

Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro - who represents Queanbeyan as part of the Monaro electorate - vowed last month to put a stop to mergers in bush areas.

"Local councils in the bush have done their fair share to contribute to stronger local government in NSW, and today we draw a line under local government amalgamations in the regions," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

"This decision has been made to ensure that we put an end to the confusion and uncertainty for those councils locked in drawn-out legal battles.

"I am looking forward to the local government elections in September to restore local decision-making to our regions."

Snowy Monaro Council will also stay merged. Yass Valley Council, Bega Valley and Eurobodalla remain unaffected.