RIVERINA residents vowed to “maintain the rage” over forced council mergers at a series of rallies on the weekend.
More than 300 protesters in Tumbarumba and 400 in Gundagai joined a statewide organised movement demanding the state government wind back council amalgamations.
Former Tumbarumba mayor Ian Chaffey urged residents to brace themselves for a hard fight.
“Australians have never done it tough – OK the Japanese bombed Darwin and a bit of the west coast – but now we find ourselves fighting for our freedom.
“We’re fighting against tyranny, where government drives an agenda based on economic rationalism on desire of ideology to destroy communities.
“In the short-term the best hope is the outcome of the legal challenges, in the long-term it might be the next (state) election in 2019.
“We have to maintain the rage until there’s no chance of these mergers being overturned.”
Former Tumbarumba councillor Julie Giddings pleaded with locals not to vote for the Coalition at the looming federal election.
“We have passed the test and been ignored and there does not seem to be a darn thing we can do about it,” Ms Giddings said.
“Baird told us he has sacked 42 councils with the stroke of a pen and there are 23 more to come, all of this has been done with secrecy, deceit and underhanded tactics while changing the goalposts every step of the way.
“Democracy is dead, administrators are answering to the Premier, so who's looking after locals?
“Baird's arrogance is just too great – the smiling assassin is his nickname and boy does it fit – we must do our best to get rid of him and pretty bloody quick if we're to see a return of democracy in NSW.”
Tumbarumba resident Rob Blencowe claimed a KPMG report relied on to justify the mergers was “predetermined”.
“People standing here and at similar rallies today are educated well enough to know the power lies with the poeple, not politicians,” Mr Blencowe said.
“Vive la Revolution.”