Save Our Shire President Lucy Henderson has vowed that Tumbarumba will not stop fighting to remain an independent shire, despite Premier Gladys Berejiklian delivering yet another blow to their cause.
Ms Henderson said she had spent the afternoon on Tuesday comforting Tumbarumba residents, some of them in tears, following Ms Berejiklian’s announcement that already merged shires would not be de-merged nor given a plebiscite vote on the matter.
“We really believed her, when she said she was going to listen to communities, I really thought she would have been better than that – but she’s just the same as all the others,” Ms Henderson said of the new NSW Premier.
“These decisions have nothing to do with right or wrong or democracy, she’s just trying to save her own skin.
“We are not going to give up on Tumbarumba. Tumbarumba is too special to lose, and if we continue with Snowy Valleys Council we will lose our beautiful community.”
Save Our Shire is a member of an organised network of regional communities that are furious over their forced mergers with larger towns.
They have been working to make the Coalition feel the consequences of their decision come election time.
They have already had success in the Orange by-election, where a “put the Nationals last” campaign saw the Nationals lose the electorate for the first time in seventy years, to the Shooters, Farmers, and Fishers party.
The proposed Orange, Blayney, and Cabonne merger is one of the six that Ms Berejiklian announced today will not go ahead.
Ms Henderson said the 2019 election is the next battle in their fight to be heard by those in power.
“All the shires are networking around NSW, and we all think the same, the Liberals and the Nationals will be put last on every ballot,” Ms Henderson said.
“[Ms Berejiklian] has made a huge mistake. She’s going to be one of the shortest lived Premiers in history. The Liberals and the Nationals are going to be out for a long time, for what they’ve done to our democracy and our communities.”
“[Nationals leader John Barilaro] is as weak as anything. He said what he said to save his skin but it’s not enough. He’s supposed to be representing rural communities, but he only represents some of them it seems.”