Tumbarumba defiant in the face of forced mergers

Residents march with candles in Tumbarumba. Picture: Save Tumbarumba Shire Facebook

Residents march with candles in Tumbarumba. Picture: Save Tumbarumba Shire Facebook

DEFIANT Tumbarumba residents have marched the streets in protest of a “tyrannical” state government and a botched amalgamation process. 

Anti-merger campaigners are fighting for their independence as the Tumbarumba Shire appears set to be absorbed by Tumut.

It comes despite NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian backflipping on bungled metropolitan council mergers several weeks ago. 

Heavyweight media professionals and politicians have since weighed in on the forced amalgamations, expressing their support for the Save Tumbarumba Shire (STS) group.

Radio great Alan Jones spoke of his disappointment in the NSW Government’s series of decisions. 

“You have my total support,” he said.

“A government that doesn’t believe in democracy, let alone honour its promises, doesn’t deserve the benefits of democracy.

“Barry O’Farrell made a commitment that there would be no forced amalgamations.

“It wasn’t an O’Farrell commitment, he spoke om behalf of the Liberal Party.”

State opposition leader Luke Foley said the Tumut-Tumbarumba forced council merger has “no legitimacy”. 

“The Court of Appeal has found the process used to be procedurally unfair,” he said in a letter to STS. 

“Any changes need to be based on a decision of the local community, not a decision made in Macquarie Street.

“The voluntary process we favour would be broadly based on the one which is in place in Queensland, which initially involves a community petition that ultimately can lead to a full referendum.

“The referendum would only involve the residents of the former Tumbarumba Shire, not everyone in the Snowy Valleys Council area.”

STS group organiser Lucy Henderson has demanded a plebiscite be arranged.

"Either the government gives us a plebiscite, or we will do everything we can to bring them down" she said.

As part of their war on forced mergers, the group held a major community rally in Tumbarumba last week to send a message to the NSW Government.

Roughly 300 protesters brandished candles during a march and proceeded to burn government documents relating to the forced merger in the town’s main street.

March participant Dean Geyer said it was “just the beginning” of Tumbarumba’s fight for independence. 

“We won’t give up until the state government shows us the same level of respect they do in the city,” he said. 

“They aren’t just going to stand over us until it all gets swept under the rug.

“It’s like a tyranny.” 

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