Amalgamate Hunters Hill Day?
It was resolved at Hunters Hill Council meeting on 10th December 2018 to adopt 31 July each year as a day to celebrate defeating the NSW Government’s most recent attempt to amalgamate Hunters Hill into a municipality with scale and capacity – which was withdrawn on 31 July 2017.
We recall the public debate at that time as being unbalanced. The Save Hunters Hill Municipality Coalition (SHHMC) campaigned against amalgamation and Council decided to mount a fight for its own jobs and benefits, but there was no organisation campaigning for amalgamation. There was no counter-balance. As a result, the ‘debate’ was one-sided and there was no chance to stop and actually consider whether we would be better off being part of a larger council, or whether it woulde be better to have boundaries that do not divide Gladesville (or Boronia Park) into two different Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Since 31 July is now adopted as Hunters Hill’s official day of gloating over their anti-amalgamation victory, we are committing to not leaving rational residents of Gladesville (or any other supporters) feeling like their/our voices do not matter. Hunters Hill Council has voted to support the divisive initiative, celebrating 31 July each year – so we will use that same day to give a voice to open-minded, progressive people who are open to change and reform.
We acknowledge there are those who would like the NSW Government to come back and finish the job (legally), and amalgamate the smallest Council in NSW into a council with enough size to be effective – without 9.74% rates increases, as are being sought at the Hunters Hill Council meeting to be held 12 December 2018.
The most balanced argument we saw at the time was the “Rough guide to the impact of amalgamation” published by the Hunters Hill Trust. Apart from publishing the thought-provoking guide available at the links below, the Hunters Hill Trust generally stayed out of the 2017 amalgamation debate because it was divided.
If Council’s size and shape is an important issue to you, or the opportunity to be a part of a constructive and balanced discussion about whether new boundaries might be better for the modern era – then this initiative is for you. If you have wondered whether a more-widely skilled staff could deliver better and more cost effective services than a micro-council, this is for you. If you have wondered whether economies of scale are more important than parochialism, this is for you. If you have wondered where it’s good for Gladesville to be targetted for almost all of the Hunter Hill municipality’s development, this is for you.
With the help of HHC, the anti-amalgamation group were very loudly heard in the 2017 process, but being loud does not necessarily mean their opinion is right, it doesn’t mean they’re the majority, and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call for municipal improvement and reform. It is time to find out how many of us are actually open to amalgamation, without being shouted down.
To build the best future, we think the community needs to be master of its own destiny. If we wait for the next forced amalgamation, we might not have much of a say. Amalgamation does not need to be forced, not when the sensible discussion moves from insularity and emotional fear of change, and considers the benefits of scale with an open mind. It could be the best thing to happen to us!
We expect to form a sub-committee or working group to drive this forward. We will also look for street/neighbourhood coordinators to help with distributing printed leaflets. You do not have to live in Gladesville, this is an issue that affects residents throughout the area.
Also, please email this to like-minded friends who think that the Council size and shape and reform issue needs more attention. New subscribers can register for our emails by contacting us at email@example.com.