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Councillor Column – 13 December 2022

Dec 13, 2022

For Immediate Release 13 December 2022
Authorised by Councillor Greg Armstrong

Earlier this year I put a motion before Council seeking support of a community poll to gauge community sentiment and appetite for de-merger of Hilltops Council and re-establishment of the former Young, Harden and Boorowa Shires.

The motion in part stated “Council resolve to conduct a poll of electors for the purpose of gaining community guidance for Hilltops Council and to assess community sentiment regarding any demerger of Hilltops Council.

With the following question be asked at the poll:

Do you support the demerger of the Hilltops Council and re-formation of the former Boorowa Shire, Harden Shire and Young Shire?  Yes OR No”

In effect this was an attempt to give the broader community an opportunity to voice its collective preference for either a merged Council or a return to pre-merger local government – or as some may say… an opportunity for everyone to have fair say in the future of local government.

Even though the results of such a poll would not be binding upon Council, there would be no doubt as to the wishes of the broader community.

Once the results of the poll had been compiled, Council would have been in the enviable position of knowing what its next move should be, and would have had the benefit of a majority of community support to develop strategies and actions to deliver the outcomes sought by the community – whatever they may be.

Regrettably, a majority of Councillors did not support the motion and it failed.

The minutes of the 27th July 2022 Meeting of Hilltops Council as provided on the Hilltops Council website, recorded the voting as follows:

For Councillors: Armstrong, Flanery, Ingram, Stadtmiller

Against Councillors: Dodd, FitzGerald, Foreman, Hewson, Mackay, Piper, Roles

Since July, I have received a large number of direct comments and questions in regard to my reasons for putting the motion up, all of which I have tried to reply to, I have also been asked why Councillors would not be prepared to support the proposal.

I cannot answer for those Councillors who did not, but if you are one of those people wondering why, l respectfully suggest that you watch the Council meeting proceedings as recorded on the Hilltops Council Live Stream Web Page for 27th July 2022 and jump straight to “14.1  22/19 Motion: Poll of Electors regarding a Demerger”. This will allow you to view the video record of debate and also allow you to make up your own minds.

I wish all a safe and healthy holiday, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Councillor Greg Armstrong

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