SHADOW Minister for Local Government Greg Warren has gotten behind a Guyra anti-merger group's bid to split from Armidale Regional Council (ARC).
The Guyra Anti-Council Amalgamation (ANTY) group is putting together a proposal to shift the council boundaries.
Mr Warren said Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock cannot ignore the small community's concerns.
"It's irrelevant whether it's a small group or a large group of Guyra residents who are pushing for this break away," he said.
"The minister has a responsibility to sit down with the community of Guyra and listen to any concerns they may have."
The old Guyra Shire Council was forced to merge with Armidale Dumaresq in 2016 as part of the state government's Fit for the Future reforms.
Since then, ARC has been rated as one of the top ten worst-performing merged councils in an LSI Consulting report, multiple councillors have quit and at one point the entire chamber was suspended for six months.
Mr Warren said the Fit for the Future policy has had a dire impact on communities across NSW.
"The forced mergers policy has been dire for many communities throughout the state including: Snowy Valleys Council; Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council; and the Central Coast Council.
"It's clear that there are residents in Guyra who feel the merger has also had a detrimental impact on their community.
"The community of Guyra don't just need lip service from the Minister - they need action and for their concerns to actually be heard and resolved."
ANTY group member Gordon Youman said the community feels its representation is gone.
"There have been a number of projects in Guyra where the council says they have consulted but they haven't listened," he said. "Guyra people have given it enough of a go to see whether it's going to work and it's not, there's still fractures in the council itself.
"We need common sense to get people to see what is happening, you can't put a dollar on the autonomy of a community, Guyra is starting to become a shell with ARC signs plastered all over the place - we've lost about 20 businesses because of the merger."
TheArmidaleExpress contacted Ms Hancock for comment but did not receive a response.
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