MACROC president snubs Crean 

MACARTHUR Regional Organisations of Councils president and Camden councillor Penny Fischer refused to attend a meeting with federal minister Simon Crean last Wednesday.

Mr Crean, the Regional Development and Local Government Minister, and Regional Development Australia had requested a meeting with MACROC members.

However, Cr Fischer said Mr Crean's office would not give her further information about the meeting.

Cr Fischer said the meeting would simply be the reannouncement of grants available to councils and the development of a western Sydney Regional Development Australia branch.

"As president of MACROC, I do not believe it is in the interests of thousands of ratepayers to be part of a political dress rehearsal without any prospect of additional funds, despite our region's very real problems," said Cr Fischer, a Liberal Party member.

"I would be happy for the Minister to save taxpayers' money on yet another consultative body and pick up the phone to me, or any other member of the MACROC board to ask us what the issues affecting greater western Sydney are - and they are considerable."

Cr Fischer said Camden Council's acting general manager Nicole Magurren, MACROC's executive officer Christine Winning and Campbelltown Council general manager Paul Tosi attended the meeting.

Mr Crean's spokeswoman said it was "disappointing that Ms Fischer did not attend the meeting".

"Importantly, MACROC was represented and made a constructive contribution to the discussion," she said.

"We will continue to work with MACROC, key stakeholders and members of the interim joint reference group, drive economic diversification and implement the place-based strategy in Western Sydney."

MACROC is the regional organisation of Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly councils.