Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill, today condemned Premier Baird’s announcement that his Government is forcing local councils to amalgamate.

“Forced amalgamations will diminish local democracy, reduce services and are nothing more than a further attempt to sideline local opposition to Baird’s developer friends,” Ms Haylen said.

The Premier’s announcement confirmed that Ashfield, Marrickville and Leichhardt councils will be forced to merge into an Inner West Council, despite their preference to stand alone.

“There is considerable anger at this announcement in Liberal seats and its says a lot that Baird refuses to listen to the people in his own party trying to talk sense,” said Ms Haylen.

 “Local residents love and rely on services including child care, the Magic Yellow Bus and even verge mowing, and the pressure is now on the Premier and Minister Toole to guarantee amalgamations won’t leave residents worse off,” said Ms Haylen.

“The fact the Government released this information days before Christmas shows the contempt they hold for local governments and rate-payers,” Ms Haylen said. 

“There has been a lack of genuine consultation and the Premier and Minister Toole owe it to the community to admit the process has been deeply flawed from the beginning,” said Ms Haylen.

“Forced amalgamations are nothing more than an attempt at political gerrymandering to ease the way for developers,” Ms Haylen said.