Hope crushed for petition

DISAPPOINTED: Beth and Rob Lenehan, who have led moves to disband the merger between Guyra and Armidale. Photo: Rachel Baxter.
DISAPPOINTED: Beth and Rob Lenehan, who have led moves to disband the merger between Guyra and Armidale. Photo: Rachel Baxter.

THE BEREJIKLIAN government has shut the door on any hope that the merger of Armidale Dumaresq and Guyra Shire Councils would be disbanded in an extraordinary meeting of cabinet.

Guyra resident Rob Lenehan has run the charge on a statewide petition to disband the merger and said the decision was a devastating blow.

“The state government is obviously going to plough ahead with this and not care what people in regional areas want,” he said.

“It’s very disappointing news for the Guyra community but we will still be putting the pressure on the government to back off.”

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall backflipped on his support for the petition.

“I support the decision of cabinet wholeheartedly,” he said.

“I’m really pleased because this decision gives every council in every community certainty about the future.

“This decision not only sets out very clearly what the decision is for Armidale Regional Council but also for Uralla Shire and Walcha Shire, it means that the axe that’s been hovering above their head with the merger proposal has now been removed.”

Uralla Shire Council mayor Michael Pearce said common sense had prevailed.

“It’s nice to hear they’ve left us to do our work and our work is to look after the needs and wants of the community,” he said. 

Armidale Regional Council administrator Ian Tiley said he was pleased the momentum that has been achieved since the May 12, 2016 merger would continue.

“The Premier has announced today that of the 20 councils that were merged last year, those mergers will stay in place,” he said.

“The government has also decided the proposed other mergers in rural areas will not go ahead, one of those was Armidale, Guyra, Walcha and Uralla which will not proceed.

“I’m pleased that the new Council will be able to continue to unleash the opportunities.”

Among the proposals for regional councils were Bathurst Regional and Oberon councils, Blayney Shire, Cabonne and Orange City councils.