The Baird government's forced council amalgamation plan has been designed to deliver political advantage to the Liberal and National parties and to cut jobs and services for local communities, Greens local government spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
"Premier Mike Baird's decision to drop or defer council amalgamation plans that cross into federal electorates such as New England and Gilmore reveals he knows the plans are unpopular," Senator Rhiannon said.
"By manipulating the timing of the forced amalgamations the NSW Liberal-National government is attempting to gain a political advantage for its own federal candidates.
"Federal Liberal and National candidates would know that forced amalgamations reflect badly on their parties and could impact on their vote.
‘With these forty-two councils go hundreds of public jobs and public services.
‘There is no mandate for these mergers; it is all about gerrymandering certain sections of the state.
‘This is a classic display of developer driven politics and contempt for local communities from the Baird government, who have ushered in administrators to replace elected officials.
‘The entire process of forced amalgamations has run roughshod over local democracy - the unreleased KPMG report, which the NSW government has relied upon to support its case for amalgamations, is case in point.
‘In NSW the Greens will push for legislation to give every resident in every council the right to vote in a plebiscite on de-merging.
‘The Australian Greens see local councils as a crucial function of local government and democratic decision making, and Baird's forced mergers fly in the face of that," Senator Rhiannon said.