Demerger protest held outside State Parliament

26th Mar 2024

Community representatives from across the state gathered in front of New South Wales Parliament on March 12th to demand NSW Labor not proceed with its bill which,
essentially, would make it harder for forcibly merged councils to deamalgamate.
The protest was organised by Demerge NSW Alliance.
Greens MLC Dr Amanda Cohn and independent MLA Dr Joe McGirr addressed the crowd, as did Hilltops councillor Brian Ingram, former Inner West mayor Rochelle Porteous, Northern Beaches councillor Miranda Korzy and Canterbury-Bankstown councillor Barbara Coorey.
Support came in a message from Charlie Sheehan, mayor of Cootamundra-Gundagai, which has been battling for years to deamalgamate, had been given approval by the Coalition, but has still not been given the go-ahead. Residents groups in in Guyra and the Central Coast also sent messages of support.
Protesters had expected Labor’s bill to be debated that day, but it was deferred, and they are continuing to organise to protect democracy at a local level.
The protest came in the same week that the NSW government announced that it has rejected a proposal to demerge Sydney’s Inner West Council despite the majority of residents voting for a split
Residents voted in 2021 in a non-binding poll, with a majority 62 per cent voting to de-amalgamate the council and return to three separate councils — Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville.
NSW Local Government Minister Ron Hoenig rejected the request after receiving the findings of a NSW Local Government Boundaries Commission report which found the demerger would be financially unviable.