Media Release: LGNSW Welcomes Gabrielle Upton as Minister

29 January 2017
Local Government NSW has welcomed the Berejiklian Government's  move  to “refresh and reset” its relationship with the local government  sector following the announcement of Vaucluse MP Gabrielle Upton as the new portfolio Minister.
Ms Upton’s appointment was announced today as part of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s new Cabinet line-up.
LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said the appointment was in keeping with the new Premier’s commitment to listen more to local communities, and he looked forward to working with the new Minister.
“I previously commended the Premier on her commitment to running a government which will take more time to listen the community, and I believe this appointment is a key step towards that,” Clr Rhoades said.
“As Member for Vaucluse, Ms Upton has previously been prepared to speak out on behalf of her constituents despite personal political risk.
“That’s exactly what communities expect of their elected representatives – to speak up on their behalf and to act accordingly.
“Deputy Premier and National Party Leader John Barilaro has spoken out strongly in defence of regional councils, saying it as time to end forced amalgamations in the bush.
“He’s listened to the community, and I am confident the new Minister will do the same.
“City or country – residents and ratepayers want to have a real say in their neighbourhoods and their day-to-day lives.  
“That's why local democratic representation through their councils is so important to them."
Clr Rhoades said the result of ignoring community wishes had been demonstrated over and over again: at the Orange by-election, with the collapse of the Liberal council vote in Western Sydney and, before that, a massive swing against the Liberal Party in North Sydney.
He called on the new Minister to abandon forced amalgamations everywhere and to restore local democracy.
“Stop the forced mergers and send those councils who were denied elections last year to the polls in September – let the people decide how they want to proceed,” Clr Rhoades said.
“The new Minister and the new Premier must be genuinely committed to a new day and a re-set, and actually listening to what the people want is a pretty good start.”
Media Enquiries
LGNSW President, Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM: 0408 256 405
Media Toni Allan: 0412 774 441