No forced council amalgamations in NSW

Hundreds protested gainst government attempts to force amalgamation of almost half of the state’s local councils.

Smiling NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird is showing himself to be yet another ruthless political gangster for the billionaire class and a wide range of people are uniting in resistance to his assaults on democracy.

On March 13, contingents from all around NSW joined in protest against the state Liberal government's attempts to remove the democratic rights of local communities by forcing amalgamation of almost half of the state's local councils, reducing the number of councils from 152 to 112.

Baird may be sacking councils and installing administrators by June, if he gets his way, and the protesters were not happy. Some of their placards read "Democracy is Dead"; "Mike Baird must go"; "Bugger off Baird".

Some protesters who had come to Sydney from Tumbarumba in the state's south, wore T-shirts that said "93%". This was the percentage of people who opposed amalgamation of the shire with Tumut and Gundagai shires.

In the extremely limited public hearings for the official "consultation" on the proposed council amalgamations, the overwhelming majority of submissions opposed forced amalgamations and demanded that local residents be allowed a vote on whether the amalgamations proceed. This reflected a strong community desire to have more say and control over governments.

Some of the opposition even comes from the Liberal-National electoral heartlands and this was evident in the broad political spectrum represented on the speaking platform. There were members of the Liberal, Labor, Greens and even Shooters, Fishers and Farmers parties on the speaking platform.

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