A majority, of six Queanbeyan councillors voted in early November to stand alone and tell the state government that a merger is bad for Queanbeyan rate payers. They have now joined neighbouring Palerang and other local councils in saying ‘no’ to the state government. Whether forced amalgamations are next remains to be seen.
“What was clear,” said councillor Jamie Cregan,“is that it is lunacy to consider mergers or boundary adjustments, when there is no evidence whatsoever this is in the best interests of Queanbeyan residents or staff especially given Palerang positions would be protected and all staff cuts would come from Queanbeyan.
He said that “90% of the community voted for a stand-alone option” and criticised Mayor Tim Overall’s block of councillors for seeking to push ahead with merger or boundary adjustments none the less.
Councillor Cregan has previously said that a merger with Palerang would necessitate a 30-40% rate increase for Queanbeyan residents and higher sewer and waste charges. A major reason is the road infrastructure maintenance backlog attached to Palerang.