WHAT a year it’s been.
It started off with town meetings and it become clear the decision was obviously made prior to the 2015 state election that Cabonne would be merged with Orange, despite all the supposedly ‘independent’ processes the merger proposal went through.
Submissions, more rallies and a well supported dummy council election ballot followed and again were totally ignored.
Cabonne council has continued the fight all the while, including in the courts – a fight that is ongoing.
On November 12, the Orange byelection forced a major rethink from the NSW Government about how they – the Nationals in particular – have arrogantly assumed that the people will do as they are told.
Swings of up to 60 per cent in Cabonne booths – and only a pathetic 24 per cent first preference vote in those same booths – hit the only place that seemed to matter: their job security.
Amalgamation No Thank You (ANTY) has since met with new Nationals leader John Barilaro, as well as the Minister for Local Government Paul Toole, who had previously ignored all requests to meet or attend rallies and town meetings.
We feel we are in a better position than anytime in the last six months. Whilst the future is still uncertain, it is much brighter than it was prior to the byelection.
We would like to thank the Cabonne Council, both councillors and staff. Their fortitude and willingness to make the hard decisions, particularly around the court case, which sees Cabonne still alive where so many other councils have now been forced to merge.
The comforting news is that the minister has assured legal council that there will be no forced council mergers prior to 5pm on February 22.
ANTY would like to thank all of its supporters within (and outside) of the Cabonne Council area.
We obviously would not be able to continue without your support and knowing that the majority of Cabonne residents are behind us.
Hoping the new year brings positive news.
Jock Haynes and Marj Bollinger
A HOLLOW RING
Dear Mr Baird,
Your interview Channel 7 Orange Local News 28 December had a rather hollow ring to it with regards your attitude towards rural, regional and remote NSW, for the future.
Of note, is the continued obsession with roads at the expense of the necessary re-development of the regional rail network so effectively destroyed in favour of roads, which still cannot cope.
Secondly, the abject failure of government to listen to the people over amalgamation policy enforcement, which can now be blamed for the loss, by the National Party, of the seat of Orange.
Of note and with surprise, Barnaby Joyce was allowed to interfere and so prevented the amalgamation of Walcha Shire Council with Tamworth City Council. There is a well known saying that "leopards don't change their spots". It is fair then to say that so many people will still remain cynical of any likely outcome or change in 2017.