29 April 2022

Locals once again call for the demerger of the Cootamundra-Gundagai Councils

| Chris Roe
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Protesters make their points.

The push continues to demerge Cootamundra-Gundagai Council. Photo: Supplied.

Residents are again pushing for the Cootamundra-Gundagai Council in southern NSW to be demerged after the NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock rejected their first submission last year.

The second round of hearings began in Cootamundra this week and will wrap up on Friday in Gundagai.

Local government boundaries commission chairman Bob Sendt says having to begin the submission process again from scratch has been a source of frustration for the community.

“Once a new proposal is received by the minister and referred to us, the whole process starts again, that’s why we have another round of hearings and another call for submissions,” he explains.

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Mr Sendt says previous concerns centred around frustrations over the forced merger six years ago.

“It was partly a rejection of the merger itself back in 2016 and the way it was undertaken, but also a view that creating a larger Council created diseconomies of scale and extra costs for the ratepayers,” he says.

The call for submissions from the public close next Friday May 6. Commissioners will then go through transcripts and review written submissions before writing a report to the minister.

While he’s expecting fewer submissions this time around Mr Sendt says there was a lot to review after the first hearings.

“We had about 1000 submissions. So it took quite a while for us to read all of those items and summarise,” he says.

The minister then has 28 days to make a decision.

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