Oberon Councillor Sam Lord is one of eight Oberon councillors. Cr Lord has been instrumental in fighting for Oberon’s right to stay as an independent council. Cr Lord has been fired up about the recent forced amalgamations and instrumental in putting pressure on the Baird government to stop the forced amalgamations of Bathurst and Oberon councils.
The Connect team chatted to Cr Sam Lord recently and here’s how it went down:
Can you tell us about the current situation with the amalgamations? Is it a waiting game?
“It certainly is a waiting game there is not much happening at all, they keep telling us there will be a decision soon but there isn’t so really we are just all sitting in limbo. There are 25 councils who are in limbo worrying about their jobs, thousands of people are worried about their jobs and about where they are going to go and what’s going to happen. Businesses that can’t make a move until these decisions are made and it effects everyone very harshly, they have no idea on a lower level how it effects someone. What looks good on paper doesn’t always work well on the street.”
Q: How have you found the reaction from the community?
“More than 94% of our community do not want to be amalgamated. Even in our submissions, we had 385 submissions, in the 383 of them we’re saying we don’t want amalgamation. We feel like 383 letters have been ignored. We went through the boundaries commission we were ignored during that process and Mike Baird just in general is ignoring and also our elected Member Paul Toole, who will not just do a thing, he is supposed to be our elected member.”
Q: What is the biggest consequence of the amalgamations?
“We’re not actually a council that is in debt and they want to merge us with a council that is in debt. It really effects people financially, anything we have to do now is now a 100km round trip, I mean that’s not local, that takes the local out of local council. It is going to diminish the business in town because now everyone has to go to Bathurst to work. We feel Bathurst will not come out here, when Bathurst took over Rockley the Rockley people saw the council a handful of times in the ten years, so why would they do anything for Oberon.
“When 94% of people don’t want something, that’s all I’ve got to say, 383 do not want it that has to tell the government something surely.”
You can find Councillor Sam Lord in her shop Rainbow Saddles or chatting in Oberon St.