Councils to vote on regional minister position
REGIONAL and Rural councils will go to the Local Government NSW conference in October with a plan to call on NSW Premier Mike Baird to restore to the Cabinet a Minister for Rural and Regional NSW.
The decision - made today at a LGNSW forum of rural and regional councils held in Sydney - will be formalised via a motion to be presented to the next gathering of the State's 152 councils.
"Essentially it's about ensuring rural and regional NSW are given the same consideration and have the same voice at the Cabinet table as Sydneysiders," LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said.
"In April 2015 Premier Baird scrapped the role of Minister for Western NSW, then held by Kevin Humphries, as well as other regional Minister roles.
"Yet at the same time he retained a Minister for Western Sydney, which happens to be the Premier himself.
"Why do the people of Western Sydney deserve better representation in Cabinet than those people who live in the rest of the state?"
Cr Rhoades said it was also important to recognise the challenges and issues faced by people who lived in all the regions of NSW.
"These areas have a wealth of issues which are directly impacting on the lives of families and voters, and we believe there should be someone at that Cabinet table specifically charged with representing them," he said.
"There may be a Minister for Regional Development, but that role has a completely different focus.
"When the Premier's new Cabinet was sworn in back in April, Premier Baird told the media he had based his decisions on performance and merit.
"He said that the people of NSW would expect nothing less, and he was right.
"The people of rural and regional NSW also expect nothing less - nothing less than this Government's best efforts to understand the challenges and issues they face, and represent their best interests.
"We believe that the Government will be able to do this more effectively if there is someone formally charged with the responsibility.
"That's why rural and regional Councils have proposed this motion calling for the appointment of a Minister for Rural and Regional NSW."