McCormack fights for small towns

Taking away town status from many centres in the Riverina has prompted Nationals’ Member for Riverina Michael McCormack to call for a guarantee of Commonwealth services in those localities.

 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has decreed that the minimum number of people to qualify as a town is 200 leaving such places as Binya, Ladysmith, Merriwagga, Rankins Springs and many others to no longer be officially considered a town.

Many residents of these centres have expressed dismay and disgust about the new ABS criteria.

Mr McCormack has written to Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke, seeking an assurance that the ABS ruling would not affect the provision of services to affected centres.

“The people in these localities deserve delivery of the same government services they have enjoyed in the past,” Mr McCormack said.

“I would hope that this new bureaucratic move is not a subversive way to downgrade services in these places in any way, shape or form and my letter seeks to clarify that.”

Mr McCormack said he understood the ABS needed parameters for its data, however, stressed that the people from smaller centres should rightly expect and receive continued provision of such services as postal and Medicare outlets.

Cristy Houghton