THE United Services Union is claiming the community hasn’t been given enough notice about the “listening tours” that form part of a review of the Local Government Act.
Union general secretary Graeme Kelly said yesterday a meeting planned for 2pm tomorrow in Tamworth as part of the independent local government review panel’s community consultation process had been downplayed “and scheduled to dodge the concerns of the region over the government’s push toward council amalgamations”.
“The local government review panel is meant to consult everyone about the push towards council amalgamations, but, while you can be sure big business has got its two cents in, the general community meetings have been scheduled at ridiculous times,” Mr Kelly said.
“Two o’clock on a Thursday afternoon is a ludicrous time to ask the working community of Tamworth to attend a meeting.
“And, due to the lack of publicity, virtually no one would know this community meeting is on anyway.
“That’s why we’re raising the alarm.
“The government’s intention is that, when the announcement of council amalgamations comes, it can claim the Tamworth community was ‘consulted’ during the process.
“However, the future of local government representation is far too important for what appears to be cynical political tricks.
“We have seen in regional Victoria how much damage council amalgamations can do.”
Mr Kelly urged people in Tamworth to get along to the meeting, if possible, to have their voices heard.
“Meanwhile, if the NSW government is planning to amalgamate local government areas, the Tamworth community deserves to be engaged properly,” he said.