INDEPENDENT candidates in the Inner West Council election have slammed Premier Gladys Berejiklian's failure to unwind the unpopular merger of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville councils after she announced today that the mergers of 14 Sydney councils would not go ahead.

“The case for mergers never stacked up,” said former Leichhardt Councillor John Stamolis, who is now running as an Independent in the Balmain ward.   
“That’s why communities across the inner west did not want to merge, and why I voted in favour of joining other inner-city councils by challenging our proposed merger in the courts.
“Yet instead of challenging the merger, our Liberal and Labor Councillors teamed up to force the merger upon us.
“We caved in when a long list of councils didn’t. Now look where we are: they’ve had their mergers scrapped, while our inner west councils have been merged under a completely flawed and incoherent policy,” said Mr Stamolis.
“I’ve doorknocked thousands of residents, and not one person I’ve spoken to has been in favour of our merger,” said Pauline Lockie, Independent candidate for the Stanmore ward of Inner West Council.
“Residents are still furious about the way our democratically elected councils were swept aside – not just by the NSW government, but also by the Liberal and Labor Councillors who defied our wishes to ram these mergers through.
“We had progressive local councils that were fit for the future. There was no need for a merger.
“Now that these Sydney council mergers have been scrapped along with a slew of rural mergers, it makes no sense for Premier Berejiklian to force the inner west to stay merged.
“We must now ask our community what they want for their future. And if they want our councils to demerge, Premier Berejiklian should foot the bill,” said Ms Lockie.
Mr Stamolis and Ms Lockie’s calls were also supported by Marrickville and Leichhardt ward Independent candidates Victoria Pye and John Lozano.
Media contacts: John Stamolis 0408 448 285, Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106

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