Mayor encourages 'unhappy' residents to sign petition

Hilltops mayor Brian Ingram is encouraging residents who are against amalgamation to seek and sign petitions, after minister of local government Shelley Hancock announced this week the possibility of an independent review of the merger of Cootamundra and Gundagai shire councils.

Mayor Ingram said he was aware of a petition circulating Harden and believes petitions will be made available to sign in Boorowa and Young.

"I would encourage all residents in the community who are unhappy with amalgamation, and I know there's a few, to seek out and sign the petition circulating in Harden. I suspect there'll be one in Young and Boorowa soon also," he said.

"This will give us the same opportunity as other merged councils to be heard about demerging."

A petition signed by around 12 per cent of enrolled voters in the Cootamundra-Gundagai local government area had been handed to Ms Hancock.

She issued a statement on Wednesday saying she had "listened carefully to the views of the community, the councils and local members".

She would now consider submissions which could lead to her referring demerger proposals to the local government boundaries commission, an independent statutory authority, for "examination and report".

"By law I am then required to consider all submissions before referring the proposals to the commision, for examination and report," she said.

A proposal to demerge the Snowy Valleys Council could also be referred to the commission.

In Gundagai a Gundagai Council in Exile was formed and was the driving force behind the petition.

Cootamundra MP Steph Cooke welcomed the announcement as a "giant step forward" for the Gundagai community.

Ms Cooke met with premier Gladys Berejiklian, deputy premier John Barilaro and Shelley Hancock on Tuesday to discuss the proposal.

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