Is govt snubbing the Valley?

Those braving the weather on the Grafton Jail picket line.
Those braving the weather on the Grafton Jail picket line. Jenna Cairney

GRAFTON is being deliberately ignored, according to United Services Union general secretary Graeme Kelly.

The government's Independent Local Government Review Panel is holding community consultation meetings all over the state, none will be held in the Clarence Valley.

According to Mr Kelly, the reason behind the snub is "self evident".

"There was a wonderful community campaign regarding the closure of the prison and I think that stunned the government

"When you have a government that sends in a riot squad to clear in the community off the street when they campaign, you know you've rattled their cages and the government wasn't going to allow that to happen again."

The review will explore new council structures and could include further amalgamation of local authorities.

Mr Kelly took a further swipe at the review by saying the meetings were organised at obscure times and were not well publicised.

"They are not allowing people a real opportunity to get to this forum and that's disgraceful," he said.

Project manager for the review panel, Vaughan Macdonald defended the consultation process saying the meetings were just the first stage of a 12-month review.

He said there was a meeting on Monday in Ballina at 1.30pm and would be one in Coffs Harbour on August 21.

"There is a range of ways people can have their say," he said.

"There is a web site and online discussion forums and people can make submissions.

"The panel has met with the general secretary of the USU and we'll attend the USU conference in September."

Mr Macdonald said the meetings had been well attended by the union and it was well aware of where and when the meetings were.

With regard to not hosting a meeting in the Valley, Mr Macdonald said, while it would be nice to visit every part of the state, it simply wasn't feasible.


For information on the review visit www.localgovern

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