Farcical ‘Public Inquiry’!

BY OUR CHIEF CIVIC ROUNDSMAN

Dictator Baird has stooped to his lowest level of contempt for the citizens of Hunters Hill, Ryde and Lane Cove Council areas scraping the bottom of the barrel with his latest insult to them over the forced amalgamation issue.

He has moved the goal posts and changed the rules again in another blatant attempt to confuse the opposition to his disastrous assassination of local democracy scheming.

Baird has announced at shortest of notices that the public can attend a public inquiry this Tuesday February 2 at Hunters Hill Sailing Club Clarke Road Woolwich from 1pm to 5pm and 7pm to 10pm to address “the Delegate” Dr Rob Lang.

BUT you must register to attend or speak by this Friday January 29!

And there will be NO PUBLIC HEARINGS in the City of Ryde or Lane Cove Council areas! How democratic is that! Simply hypocritical.

And no guarantees that what you say will ever be really considered.

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How many people would have seen or read these notices about the public inquiries into mergers published only in the Sydney Morning Herald and  Daily Telegraph Wednesday January 13 and no media releases.

 

Mayors and Councillors united against Baird Govt forced amalgamation plans

BY OUR CHIEF CIVIC ROUNDSMAN

All Mayors and Councillors in the Hunters Hill, Ryde and Lane Cove Councils are united against the Baird State Government forced merger plans.

And this includes all the endorsed Liberal Councillors and Mayors in Lane Cove and Ryde and the unendorsed but Liberal Party members in Hunters Hill.

And still the arrogant premier and his sidekick minister for Former Local Government are unrepentant and unmoved in their drive to destroy local democracy and local government in NSW.

We’ll go to the sneaky meeting and we’ll fight, vow ratepayers

The Save Hunters Hill Municipality Coalition opposed to the Baird Government’s proposed forced merger of the municipality has vowed to ‘stand up and fight’ at next Tuesday’s public hearing at the Hunters Hill Sailing Club at Clarke’s Point.

The afternoon and early evening public hearing is expected to record comments for and against the proposed forced merger with neighbouring Ryde and Lane Cove and its findings will be reviewed by both the Baird Government and the NSW Boundaries Commission under the auspices of delegate Dr Robert Lang.

Save Hunters Hill Municipality Coalition spokesman Phil Jenkyn accepts there is local cynicism about the public hearing changing an entrenched government position.

“The Baird Government will try to use this outcome of this hearing as a rubber stamp, at least that is how this is being seen by the public,” he said.

“But never let it be said the community of Hunters Hill will not step up to the plate and stand up and fight for Hunters Hill at every opportunity and if the government try to make this a stitch up, we will expose them, have no doubt about that.”

The Baird Government revealed its proposal to forcibly amalgamate our three local councils a few days before Christmas and Mr Jenkyn believes the government’s actions were planned to take advantage of people away for the school holidays.

The choice of the venue for next Tuesday’s hearing was also criticised by City of Ryde Mayor Jerome Laxale as being deliberately chosen to mark it hard for Ryde residents to get to.

Parking meter fees at Clarke’s Point may remain in force during the hearing, subject to a decision by Hunters Hill Council.

Mr Jenkyn said crucial facts and figures were also omitted from the government’s most recent spin on the proposal, which concentrated on predictions of savings to ratepayers over 20 years and improved local services.

“The way the proposal has been put out by the government is misleading, inaccurate and Premier Baird, Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian and Local Government Minister Paul Toole are being dishonest”.  Mr Jenkyn said.

“The whole argument that ‘bigger is better’ is dishonest because all we’ll end up with is a bigger bureaucracy, with large departments run by highly paid managers who’ll spend our ratepayers money hiring consultants who’ve never been to Hunters Hill, let alone live here.”

Mr Jenkyn noted the turmoil among local rank and file Liberal Party members over forced amalgamations – first revealed in The Weekly Times.

“The Liberal Party is in a shambles over this because forced amalgamations goes against Liberal Party philosophy to uphold grassroots democracy and keep big government out of peoples lives.

“It really is bizarre, because all the political capital the Liberals built up by throwing out a Labor government, that deserved to go, is evaporating over this. ”

The issue is locally accredited to be behind a swing of up to 16 per cent against the Liberal Party in the recent North Sydney by-election across polling booths in Hunters Hill despite the fact the successful Liberal candidate, North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman,  opposed forced amalgamations.

Mr Jenkyn is convinced there will be a similar or larger swing in the next State election against Liberals Lane Cove MP Anthony Roberts and Ryde MP Victor Dominello.

Mr Dominello recently made media comments favouring a merger between Hunters Hill and Ryde while Mr Roberts had praised a Joint Regional Authority approach which would have secured each council’s future, but was not approved by his government.

“A part of their legacy will be as gutless wonders who didn’t stand up and fight for their communities,” Mr Jenkyn predicted.

“And Premier Mike Baird is going to continue to say I’m Magic Mike and aren’t I popular and follow me .. just like the Pied Piper.

“My warning to them is that we live in a volatile time in politics and people here will quickly swing to an independent.”

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Ryde Mayor Labor’s Clr Jerome Laxale, Lane Cove’s Liberal Deborah Hutchens and Hunters Hill’s Richard Quinn united against forced mergers at the NSW Local Government annual conference when premier Baird was guest speaker. TWT on-the-spot PHOTO.