Oberon and Mosman protesters reject urge to merge

SIGNS OF DISQUIET: Bathurst mayor Gary Rush addressed yesterday’s rally. 090715cprotst2PROTESTERS travelled from Holroyd, Manly, Strathfield, Hunters Hill, Pittwater and Mosman to join Oberon and Cabonne locals at an anti-amalgamation rally in Machattie Park yesterday.
Nanjing Night Net

The protest agenda was set by a Sydney group, the Save our Councils Coalition (SOCC).

Oberon speaker Marjorie Armstrong said residents in communities that have been forced to amalgamate tell a story of the destruction of their town by the bigger amalgamation partner.

“We must let our local member know we will not sit back and let them destroy Oberon,” Ms Armstrong said.

“We will not accept amalgamation now or in the future. Who knows better than the local council what the local people need?”

Bathurst mayor Gary Rush, who reminded the gathering he grew up in Oberon, accepted an invitation to meet protesters in the park and was called on to speak.

And he said that Bathurst didn’t want to amalgamate with Oberon any more than Oberon wanted to amalgamate with Bathurst.

“There is a suggestion here today that Bathurst is the enemy and we are not the enemy,” Cr Rush said.

“I would be less than honest if I didn’t say I would be happier if these signs didn’t say ‘No Bathurst’. I certainly wish the Oberon Council well in their assessment by IPART [Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal].”

Ms Armstrong said she hoped people understood Oberon was a peaceful town.

“We’re not protesters, we are just people who are happy the way we are,” she said.

Following the rally in the park, the protesters marched on Member for Bathurst and Minister for Local Government Paul Toole’s Howick Street office.

But Mr Toole said no formal arrangements had been made to meet with him.

After four-and-a-half years of consultation, he said, the independent tribunal is now assessing council submissions to determine whether or not the councils can do what is required of them.

“I await that report,” Mr Toole said.

“I want communities to have confidence that they have a council that will provide better facilities, more services and value for money to ratepayers.”

Oberon mayor Kathy Sajowitz said the members of the Oberon community attending the protest were “not here to put the heat on Bathurst, but to put the heat on Paul Toole”.

“I’m very pleased with the local turnout. It tells us we’ve done the right thing,” she said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments are closed.