“A word please, Mr Baird”

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MARJ Bollinger and Val Pack­ham came from Mo­long to bend the Mike Baird’s ear about forced coun­cil amal­ga­ma­tions, bran­dish­ing hum­ble signs that sim­ply re­quested “a chat” with the Premier.

Baird stopped to ac­knowl­edge the duo, ask­ing if it would be okay if he spoke with them fol­low­ing the hos­pi­tal open­ing for­mal­i­ties.

The pair came with the in­ten­tion of ex­press­ing their op­po­si­tion to the amal­ga­ma­tion of Cabonne, Blayney and Or­ange coun­cils – where res­i­dents fear a loss of ser­vices should the merger be­tween two ru­ral and one ci­ty­based coun­cil go ahead.

Bollinger, who is renowned for her ac­tive en­gage­ment in com­mu­nity is­sues, was doubt­ful of an au­di­ence, but said the pair was “chuffed” that the Premier did in fact make time to speak with them.

“He came out and came di­rectly to speak with us. He asked if I’d been in touch with the Min­is­ter for Lo­cal Govern­ment, Paul Toole – I said, “Yes, I’ve tried, but with­out suc­cess – that’s why I want to talk to you.””

Bollinger said the Premier in­structed his staff to take the pair’s email ad­dress. “I re­ceived an email the fol­low­ing morn­ing say­ing that he’s happy to meet with me when we can ar­range a time – so we can’t ask for more than that.”

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