Name to stay the same

After ongoing controversy, Blacktown City Council has voted to keep its name.

Last month, after a two-hour long debate, Blacktown City Council voted along party lines to not take any further action around changing the City’s name.

Blacktown City Council’s Mayor, Stephen Bali – supported by six other Labor councillors and the independent Deputy Mayor, Councillor Jacqueline Donaldson – voted in favour of the motion, defeating six Liberal Councillors and another independent.

“This was the best possible outcome,” Mayor Bali said.

Late last year, a group of Blacktown councillors moved to change the City’s name, suggesting options such as “Western Sydney Council” and “Fairwater Council”.

Mayor Bali said the issue gained statewide media attention and drew criticism from Aboriginal groups, when it was suggested by some proponents the name “Blacktown” was disrespectful to Indigenous Australians.

“We also asked the Blacktown Aboriginal community and discovered the situation was quite the reverse – they are proud to live in Blacktown,” Mayor Bali said.

“Because people kept constantly reviving the name change issue, it was necessary to determine the matter once and for all,” said the Mayor.

During November and December last year, opinions were gathered through an impartial, citywide phone survey, an online survey through the council’s “Bang the Table” portal, hard copy survey forms and the collected opinions of those who spoke at community consultation meetings.

Four survey streams conducted by Council found that just under 80 percent of those surveyed or offered opinions didn’t want a name change.

The community consultation came at a cost, Mayor Bali said, “It cost council $98,000 to find out what everyone living here should already have known – we love Blacktown.”

But, the Mayor said Council is glad to put the issue to rest once and for all: “The issue has been thrown out and it’s not escaping from the garbage truck ever again.”