The NSW Boundaries Commission has invited residents to lodge submissions letting it know what they think about the proposal to demerge the of Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council.
The Commission announced on Wednesday that written submissions should be made by mail or email (see addresses at the end of this article) by close of business on Friday April 24.
Submissions "should preferably" address one or more of the following factors: financial advantages and disadvantages; the community of interest and geographic cohesion; historical and traditional values in the existing areas and the impact of change on them; the attitudes of residents and ratepayers; any requirements in relation to elected representation for residents and ratepayers at the local level; any impact on council operations and staff, any impact on rural communities; and any other factors relevant to the provision of efficient and effective local government in the existing and proposed new areas.
Addressing a public forum in Cootamundra on March 11, the consultant hired by the council to help prepare its submission, Professor Joseph Drew, urged residents to keep their submissions short and sharp.
He recommended the best submission was a handwritten "one liner", on paper, sent in by snail mail, clearly stating that your attitude was either in favour of deamalgamation or against.
"I don't care which way you go - well I do care, but I don't have a personal investment in it. What I really care about is that this time you make it crystal clear what you want, and that you put it in writing in a way that people can't ignore," he said.
"You need to get that pen out and write I want deamalgamation because it's clearly consistent with my attitude and the attitudes of everyone I talk to - or similarly I want to stay amalgamated.
"If they get an avalanche of these papers and it's short and sharp signed and uses the specific words in the legislation it will be really hard to ignore. In fact by law they must take the attitudes of residents and citizens into account."
The words the Commission must consider are set out in a video Professor Drew has posted on the council's website, at https://www.cgrc.nsw.gov.au/boundaries-commission-inquiry/
Anyone who would like to speak to their submission at the public hearings should say so in their written submission.
The time and place of the hearings will be advertised once available, and any changes to those arrangements due to the impact of the virus will be published on the LGBC website.
The addresses are: LGBC Executive Officer, Locked Bag, 3015, Nowra NSW 2541 or EO@lgbc.nsw.gov.au.