LOCAL MPs have come under fire by civic leaders for “selling out” councils on the Fit For the Future reforms.
It comes as local communities across the Riverina are at risk of being struck from the map, following last Friday’s announced council merger proposals.
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi said he felt “let down” by member for Murray Adrian Piccoli for leaving the city as a standalone “unfit” council.
It follows Griffith opting to merge with Murrumbidgee, despite its southern neighbour opposing.
But Murrumbidgee will merge with the northern part of Jerilderie, leaving a question mark over Griffith.
Mr Piccoli confirmed he had a hand in deciding the future of councils in his electorate.
“I’m so disappointed by the minister and premier who we tried to work with,” Cr Dal Broi said.
“It seems political intervention has won the day for some councils that obviously used the politics to achieve better outcomes for themselves.”
Cr Dal Broi said he spoke to Mr Piccoli several times over the reform process.“In his own electorate, we’ve been left with a question mark,” he said.
Cr Dal Broi is now demanding Griffith be reinstated as a fit council or receive infrastructure money like the bordering Murrumbidgee.
Mr Piccoli conceded change was difficult, but stood by the decisions and defended the process, insisting “everybody has certainly been listened to”.
“There’s been no shortage of community consultation and the government had to make a decision and not everybody is going to be happy with that.”
Meanwhile, the shock decision to ignore Cootamundra and Harden’s intention to merge has prompted Cootamundra councillor, Rosalind Wight, to hit out at MP Katrina Hodgkinson.
“How extraordinary is it that these totally disengaged, self-opinionated, self-indulgent politicians have made decisions that have totally ignored the wishes of people that they have been elected to represent,” Cr Wight said.
Ms Hodgkinson told The Advertiser last month she would support councils in her electorate to stand alone if they wished, so long as they followed the necessary process.
In the Wagga electorate, affected councils have praised MP Daryl Maguire for standing by them.
“Daryl Maguire has been supportive of council throughout this process because he believes council is doing a good job and is worth saving,” Lockhart general manager Rod Shaw said of the proposed merge with Urana and Corowa.
Tumut mayor Sue Bulger said discussions were yet to occur with Mr Maguire but stressed council’s intention to remain standalone.
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