Councillor Susan Meehan
Councillor Susan Meehan

Councillors told to quit

LENNOX HEAD-based MLC Catherine Cusack has made an extraordinary attack on Ballina Council, calling on five councillors - including the Mayor Phillip Silver - to step aside.

It follows the council's decision this week to support Lismore City Council's "takeover" of the Richmond Tweed Regional Library service, which she described as: "the most stupid decision I have ever encountered".

Ms Cusack accused the five councillors who voted in favour of the deal of being 'out of their depth' and 'totally oblivious to what everyone is telling them'.

"There was just no need to make this decision," she said.

The vote means all four councils, Ballina, Tweed, Byron and Lismore, are likely to be forced into a five-year commitment to Lismore running the library network.

"They're signing up to a blank piece of paper," Ms Cusack said. "They're endorsing a service agreement that does not exist."

"We are handing a big slice of our library and our rates to Lismore for no other reason than Lismore wants it."

Mayor Phillip Silver said Ms Cusack's comments did not reflect the feeling of his constituents. He had made his decision based on sound advice, including from the council's general manager.

"I don't think it helps terribly to talk about 'stupid decisions'," he said.

The library network has been run by Lismore since July 2010, following its controversial decision to disband the library committee.

Ms Cusack said during the 12 months of Lismore's reign, service standards had deteriorated, efficiency savings had not been delivered and library activities have been reduced.

Library management denied the claims, saying there had been no complaints, and an overall improvement in service standards.

Ms Cusack is organising a meeting at Byron Bay on February 6 for all pro-independent library supporters.

Another meeting of all library member councils will be held the following day.

Do you think Lismore should run the library network? Leave a comment below.