Media Release: Communities continue to punish Govt over forced amalgamations

9 April 2017
Communities angry at being taken for granted continued to punish the NSW Government this weekend, delivering dire warnings to Premier Gladys Berejiklian in two of her formerly safest seats.
Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said significant swings against the Government – as high as 27% in some booths - had been recorded in North Shore and Manly.
“These were two of the Liberal Party’s safest state seats, so swings of this size are a clear sign of community displeasure,” Clr Rhoades said.
“According to the ABC, the Liberal Party’s primary vote in Manly was down to 43%, representing a swing of almost 25%.
“Meanwhile, while in North Shore, strong early swings of up to 27% away from the Government in some Mosman booths were smoothed to around 17% overall.”
ABC election analyst Antony Green places the average two-party by-election swing against governments in NSW since 1998 at 10.5 per cent. 
“It’s telling that swings of up to 27% against the Government were recorded in Mosman, where residents are passionately opposed to their council’s proposed forcible amalgamation with North Sydney and Willoughby,” Clr Rhoades said.
“The swing was not so great in booths in the area governed by North Sydney council.
“North Sydney Council is also opposed to its forcible amalgamation, but may have garnered less support due to what the new North Shore MP Felicity Wilson described during the campaign as ‘governance issues and history of dysfunction’.
Clr Rhoades said that while the candidates and their parties would continue to parse the results of Saturday’s by-election, it was clear that voters were becoming increasingly angry at their wishes being ignored.
“Every single sphere of Government – federal, state and local – is there to represent the voters,” Clr Rhoades said.
“That means listening – really listening - to what they’re telling you, and acting accordingly.
“We have consistently argued that the State Government must listen to the people or pay the political price.
“The National Party paid the price in losing Orange to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.
“North Shore voters indicated their mood more than a year ago at the by-election for the Federal seat of North Sydney, when they drove the Liberal Party primary vote to its lowest level since the party’s formation.
“The Government may not have lost Manly or North Shore this time, but both seats are significantly less safe than they were before forced amalgamations became a reality. “
The third by-election held this weekend saw the electorate of Gosford - another seat impacted by council amalgamations – comfortably retained by the ALP following the health-related resignation of former MP Kathy Smith. 
The seat was called early for ALP candidate and former paralympian Liesl Tesch, with a first preference swing to Labor of more than 11%.
Media Enquiries
LGNSW President, Cr Keith Rhoades: 0408 256 405
Media Toni Allan: 0412 774 441