First time meeting with Office of Local Government about proposed merger

There is no doubt that there has been plenty of passion around the Hawkesbury when it comes to views about the State Government’s proposal to merge Hawkesbury City Council with part of The Hills Shire Council.

The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Kim Ford is well aware that residents and ratepayers have overwhelmingly voiced their concerns and opposition towards a merger in the brief time allowed for public consultation.

“Even though hundreds upon hundreds of people have had their say by speaking at the Public Inquiry, and some have even made a commendable effort to submit written submissions, there are thousands more who still do not know what is happening or the serious implications of a misguided merger such as this one,”  Councillor Ford said.

“There really is no point pursuing one folly after another in Local Government, when what really needs to happen is real funding reform.

“It’s like patching up pot hole after pot hole, which every Council and resident understands – we’ll just end up on one hell of a bumpy ride in future.”

In a much welcomed show of support, local MP Mr Dominic Perrottet has agreed to accompany the Mayor and the General Manager of Hawkesbury City Council to meet with representatives from the Office of the Minister of Local Government tomorrow to further push the Hawkesbury’s case against the proposed merger.

The Mayor sincerely welcomes Mr Perrottet’s involvement.

“We’re hoping for some really positive conversations at this meeting,” Councillor Ford said.

“The Hills seems intent on making the Hawkesbury a satellite of the North West Growth Sector, a mistake which is replicated in the State Government’s proposal.

“Simply too much has been overlooked in this proposal and it should not go ahead,” Councillor Ford said.

“This merger would disadvantage the residents, economy, and the future of the Hawkesbury because there are fundamental differences between the Hawkesbury and The Hills.

“The merger proposal mistakenly assumes the Hawkesbury is a metropolitan council when it is not.”

The Mayor further explained: “The Hawkesbury is a peri-urban area on the fringe of Sydney with key differences that separate it from metropolitan Sydney. Compared with The Hills, the Hawkesbury has a different pattern of housing development; a different relationship with its rural landscapes, historic precincts and waterways; different transport needs; a different experience of flood and bushfire; a different tourism product; a different history and sense of place; and a different, more self-contained, local economy”.

“We are looking forward to this meeting as a step towards constructive discussion and the long but worthwhile road to rebalancing the relationship between state and local government.”