Inner West Independent

Inner West demerger motion falls behind opposition of Labor bloc

Demerger

The only motion at an extraordinary council meeting concerning the demerger was voted down this week. Photo: Youtube/Isaac Nellist

By DANIEL LO SURDO

The only motion at an extraordinary Inner West Council demerger meeting has been voted down behind the opposition of the one-seat majority Labor bloc this week.

Justine Langford. Photo: Supplied

The 11-part motion, tabled by Greens councillors Justine Langford and Liz Atkins, as well as Independent John Stamolis, included calls for council to establish a demerger committee, following a preference by voters at last year’s election to reverse Inner West Council back to the former Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield councils after the three were amalgamated in 2016.

Under the proposed committee, councillors, local government experts and community members would be invited to “oversee the development of the demerger business case”, which is being prepared by independent consultancy firm Morrison Low for the NSW Office of Local Government.

At Tuesday’s meeting, all five Greens and two independent councillors voted in favour of the motion but was lost without the support of the Labor caucus, who control the majority of the council chamber.

Council to see demerger business case in June: General Manager

Concerns have been raised with the de-amalgamation process, with Cr Langford earlier this year tabling a motion to install a timeline for the preparation of the business case, saying that “it seems that the case for the demerger is secret business” that wasn’t being shared with the councillors.

While speaking at a public meeting in April, council’s General Manager, Peter Gainsford, said that the business case would be discussed by councillors at a June meeting, with the outcome of community engagement to be reported back in August before it is submitted to the Office of Local Government.

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