Letters to the editor

COMMITTED: Member for Cootamundra Katrina Hodgkinson said she is committed to advocating for her members.
COMMITTED: Member for Cootamundra Katrina Hodgkinson said she is committed to advocating for her members.

Clearing the air

Dear Editor,

I firmly believe in one’s right to free speech, however, I cannot let recent letters about amalgamations pass uncorrected.

Since the merger announcement, I have continually represented the concerns of Cootamundra and Gundagai constituents. I am in regular contact with former councillors and have discussed the situation at length with the Premier, successive Ministers and other MPs.

I have also made multiple representations in relation to local government amalgamations on behalf of constituents to government. 

To correct the ALP spin, there was no legislation for MPs to vote against in relation to the mergers. The mergers were initiated under the Local Government Act 1993 Section 218A, the same legislation used by NSW Labor during the 2004 mergers undertaken by Tony Kelly and Bob Carr.  

I take the many concerns of my constituents, no matter how large or small, very seriously and make the appropriate representations whatever the case may be. 

Katrina Hodgkinson

Member for Cootamundra

It doesn’t take a detective

You don’t have to be a Perry Mason to work out that the Gundagai Council and townspeople were denied natural justice during the amalgamation process. It is obvious that all the submissions that were made were never given the proper weight (if any) that they deserved and also, the Government would not release the findings of the $400,000 KPMG report in its entirety to councils because it may have, in all probability, supported their efforts to stand alone.

Former Nationals deputy leader Mr John Turner was far from impartial in his reporting back to the Government. He apparently ignored all of the evidence in the submissions and gave Premier Baird the decision that he wanted. His biased findings convinced the NSW Land and Environment Court (LEC) to conclude that the Gundagai Council “had not established any grounds on which to challenge the merger decision”. He was rewarded for his efforts by being appointed to the prime position of administrator to the new MidCoast Council. 

According to the High Court, all that has to be shown is that the denial of natural justice deprived our council of the possibility of a successful outcome - their right to stand alone. I am also led to believe that our councillors were never officially notified that their services were no longer required. They read about their dismissal through the media. The court has ruled that an appearance of bias is impermissible in the public interest and such a ruling is binding on all courts and judges in the Australian Judicature.

So, if one goes by the common law, it is irrefutable that the Gundagai Council and the townspeople were denied natural justice/procedural fairness then. In my way of thinking, the court’s ruling should invalidate the LEC’s decision that dismissed Council’s appeal to stand alon.? I could be wrong but I don’t believe I am.

Geoff Field

Gundagai

Festival a success

A big thank you from the Rhythm and Rail Committee committee to the following:

Our major sponsor QUBE LOGISTICS, who have supported the Festival for some period, without them it could not run.

Other sponsors including ARTC and numerous local business's who have supported the festival in numerous ways.

The hard-working group who assist these events, they include Darby Ismus, nothing was too much trouble, Robin Asmus on sound and mc; Tony Butt and Brian Higginson for all the hard yards manual labour.

Our personal thanks to all who played a part.

Thank you each and every one in staging a very successful festival

Allan Tucker, Rhythm and Rail committee member

Junee