Mick Veitch.

NSW Labor have welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to backflip and allow Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council to finally demerge.

The forced merger has been a debacle from day one, with both communities running a long campaign to split. As a result of the merger, the council was placed in a dire financial position while residents were forced to absorb enormous rate rises to the tune of 53.5 per cent.

While NSW Labor welcomed the NSW Government’s about-face, NSW Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren, said there were still a number of questions that needed to be answered – specifically around the process of the demerger.

NSW Shadow Minister for Regional NSW, Mick Veitch MLC, said the decision to demerge was an admission from the NSW Government that they got it wrong. Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council Mayor Charlie Sheahan, said the demerger was the best result for both communities.

Greg Warren, NSW Shadow Minister for Local Government said:

“It is pleasing the NSW Government finally listened to the communities of Cootamundra and Gundagai – even if it did take six years.   “It’s now critical the Minister for Local Government releases details about the demerger process and any subsequent timelines as a matter of urgency.   “I would also urge the NSW Liberals and Nationals to make a formal apology to the communities of Cootamundra and Gundagai.”

Mick Veitch, NSW Shadow Minister for Regional NSW said: “Simply, the communities of Cootamundra and Gundagai should never have been put through this in the first place.

“The NSW Government must now provide a clear pathway for both communities going forward.”

Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council Mayor Charlie Sheahan said:

“For the council staff this will be another disruption to them and their lives but I assure them the future will be better.

“Both communities are certainly going to go through some tough times to get back on track.”