Minister Missing in Action

Last Thursday marked one year to the day that it was announced the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council would be de-amalgamated.

When it was first announced, everyone involved understood that the demerge process would require patience and perseverance; we were all prepared for that. But it feels as though it has stalled entirely.

We’re now 12 months down the track and nothing has happened, and I have serious concerns about the lack of progress on this issue.

The entire community feels as though they have been left high and dry, so the question is: how long are they expected to live in limbo?

Understandably, this delay is starting to take a toll on the well-being of council staff, who have done an outstanding job in maintaining the level of delivery the community expects from their Local Government, and I commend them for their dedication and sense of duty.

But the fact remains, the communities of Cootamundra, Gundagai, and the smaller villages deserve action now.

Assurances have been sought from the Local Government Minister Ron Hoenig on the way forward; I personally have written to the Minister, and I understand Mayor Sheahan has written to him twice, along with the Riverina Joint Organisation, inviting him to visit the area, to meet with council, locals, and myself, and see for himself just how urgent the situation has become.

But all we’ve had in response is silence; this is simply not good enough. The Minister must give the community, its elected officials, and council staff, the respect they all deserve, and give them some certainty around their future. The clock is ticking.

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