The amalgamation of Wellington and Dubbo councils will remain in place with no plebiscite to garner public opinion. The announcement was made yesterday by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton.
“Since becoming Premier, the Deputy Premier and I have been travelling across NSW, listening to the views and considering the evidence,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Former Wellington councilor David Grant said he is glad for the residents that a decision has been made.
“I think it’s a good thing... now we can concentrate on making the new council a powerhouse in the state,” Mr Grant said.
Former Wellington mayor Anne Jones said the new premier’s original plans for a plebiscite had been swept under the rug.
“If the NSW Liberals and National Government are committed to listening and delivering to and for communities in NSW, then the government should proceed with a plebiscite for all forced amalgamated councils and show us the proof of that poll,” Mrs Jones said.
Ms Berejiklian and Mr Barilaro also announced that the NSW Government would not be proceeding with regional councils that have yet to be merged.
“Whilst there have been a number of significant improvements in merged regional councils, we accept that a one size fits all model does not always apply outside Sydney,” she said.
Mr Barilaro said the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government is committed to listening, and delivering, for the communities across regional NSW.
“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,” Mr Barilaro said.
“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.”
The Premier said new councils will continue to serve their communities.
“New councils across NSW have been working hard to deliver better services for their communities,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Residents and ratepayers would be worse off if this was undone.”