From SMH - January 20 2017 - 1:43PM
The future of forced council amalgamations in NSW is in doubt just one day after Mike Baird resigned as premier.
In a statement on Friday, Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro vowed “to put an end to the local government mergers in the bush”.
The controversial forced amalgamations policy was driven by Mr Baird and endorsed by the cabinet, despite widespread opposition.
However, the issue was blamed, along with the aborted bid to ban greyhound racing, as a factor in the Nationals’ disastrous loss in last year’s Orange by-election which saw Troy Grant resign as party leader.
Keith Rhoades, a Coffs Harbour councillor and the president of Local Government NSW, said the government should not be proceeding with metropolitan mergers either.
“Finally a leader of a party is taking notice of what the community is saying,” Cr Rhoades said of Mr Barilaro.