Keep Kiama Council Local Committee Chairman Rob McKinnon says residents should treat the Forced Amalgamation Plebiscite on May 7 as the most important local government vote in the municipality’s 157 year history.
At the plebiscite, residents will be asked whether they are in favour of Kiama amalgamating with any other council.
Former councilor McKinnon has urged a massive voter turn-out and a resounding NO vote.
“This is arguably the most important vote in Kiama Council’s history,” he says. “Mayors and councillors come and go, but we face the prospect of losing the whole council and everything that this community has worked so hard to develop, and the high quality services we currently enjoy.
“It is vitally important that we show the NSW Government the extent of community opposition to this forced amalgamation proposal.
We have got so much to lose if our communities of Kiama, Gerringong, Gerroa, Jamberoo, Kiama Downs and Minnamurra are forced to become part of a greatly expanded Shoalhaven.
“We will lose representation, services and our identity, as well as valuable community assets such as the Bluehaven retirement complex.”
Mr McKinnon says the plebiscite is an important element of the campaign to convince the Government to abandon the forced amalgamation.
“We have already had an IRIS Research survey that shows 92% of residents are opposed to the forced amalgamation. We need to harness that sentiment and make sure that residents turn out in their thousands to vote and send the message to Premier Baird and his Government loud and clear.”
The plebiscite will be a formal poll conducted at the usual polling booths throughout the Kiama area, with a pre-poll booth at the Kiama Pavilion from April 26 until polling day.
Voters will be asked to vote yes or no to one question: Do you want Kiama Council to amalgamate with another Council?
Mr McKinnon says that unlike in normal council elections, voting is not compulsory.
“That means that it is even more important that we get a large voter turnout. I urge everyone who cares about this community to not only vote, but encourage their family, friends and neigh-bours to do the same.”
“We need a massive NO vote to show the government that it would be a huge mistake to force this amalgamation on Kiama Council and the residents of this municipality.”