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Councillor Column – 16 August 2022

Aug 16, 2022

For Immediate Release 16 August 2022
Authorised by Councillor Brian Ingram

At the July Council Meeting a Notice of Motion was put forward to conduct a poll of electors to gain community guidance for Hilltops Councill and to assess community sentiment regarding any demerger of Hilltops Council.

The purpose of this motion was to encourage Council to conduct a poll of residents to gauge their satisfaction with the amalgamation of the former Boorowa, Harden and Young Shire Councils and if they would like to remain as an amalgamated Council or return to the former shires of Boorowa, Harden and Young.  

After a strong debate in the Chamber, unfortunately the motion was lost. As many of you know, I have served on Hilltops Council since amalgamation and have supported the amalgamation in the position of Mayor. The reason I say it is unfortunate that the motion was lost is because as a Councillor it is my job to represent the community and I cannot ignore the feedback I receive from many residents saying that they want to re-establish their former Local Government Areas.

I would like to explain that what was being voted on at this meeting was not to demerge, but to simply find out what the majority of rate payers would prefer and to ensure that they have a say in their future. That is part of living in a democracy, to have these discussions so that that the views and beliefs of the majority are represented.

I attended a rally organised by Save Our Council at Parliament House in Sydney last week to listen to the views of Councillors, ratepayers and politicians regarding merged Councils. It was very interesting to hear that many of the issues faced by merged Council’s are the same issues we face at Hilltops. These include declining service levels, dramatically increased costs and poor financial performance.

Interestingly, I have seen a poll on a community group page on Facebook where, as another Hilltops Councillor suggested, the thoughts of the community in relation to demerging is being sought. While only a small sample of just over 200 people, the overwhelming majority of people (83%) voted in favour of demerging.

Councillor Brian Ingram