BACKING: NSW Member for Murray Adrian Piccoli supports the proposed Wakool/Murray merger.
LOCAL New South Wales MP Adrian Piccoli has thrown his support behind his government’s proposed merger of Wakool and Murray shires.
The Member for Murray told The Guardian the merger would be a good thing for both the Wakool and Murray communities.
“There’s going to be a $10 million infrastructure grant across those two councils. That is a huge investment,” he said.
“Communities will be represented by a much more powerful voice when they’re combined rather than when they’re separate.
“There will be savings that will go back into the community, they’re not going into the state government or the federal government. They go back to the community.”
Mr Piccoli said it didn’t matter when controversial decisions like this were made, people were always going to be unhappy about it.
However, he said when community members were asked for their opinion — as the council intends to do by conducting a poll next month — they needed to be made aware of the benefits as well as disadvantages.
“The question has to be asked correctly: are you willing to forego $10 million; are you willing to have two general managers, two planning departments, two lots of administration that your rates go towards; do you want a stronger, united council representing the common interests that both communities have,” he said.
“These are the issues, and it’s very hard to ask a yes or no question when those factors have got to be included.
“If you just put out a question and say do you want to merge, I can tell you — you don’t even have to do the survey — what people are going to say.”
Wakool Shire Mayor Neil Gorey said he was disappointed with Mr Piccoli’s comments.
“He needs to return to the grassroots and represent his community,” Cr Gorey said.
For more on this story, grab a copy of Friday’s Guardian (January 22).
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