REGIONS at the top and tail of NSW are voicing their anger at perceived Sydney bias of the State government – but secession from the State is not a simple solution. Down in the far south-west corner of the State, the Wentworth Shire Council feels forgotten by the NSW government, while New England’s federal MP Barnaby Joyce has revived calls to establish the long awaited New England new State in the region. Wentworth Shire Council has condemned the NSW government’s lack of support for the region, and deferred a recommendation calling for the region to join Victoria for further consultation. “I just want people in our area to get a fair go,” said Councillor Bob Wheeldon, who thinks Wentworth joining Victoria is a simple matter of economics. Within 20 minutes of Wentworth is the thriving city of Mildura, just on the other side of the border. In the past few years, funding from the Victorian government has flowed into Mildura, including $200 million for rail infrastructure and $30m for a new airport terminal. Meanwhile, in Wentworth, the public coffers are empty and no major infrastructure projects are planned. “We (the council) are being proactive by trying to get the economy going, but we’ve just got this albatross around our necks,” Cr Wheeldon said. “I think they (the NSW government) look west and just say it’s too complicated.” Cr Wheeldon pointed to continued growth of Mildura, now the fifth largest city in Victoria with a rapidly growing population, compared with Wentworth, which in an almost identical location was falling. Infrastructure, services such as health and police were lacking, he said. “The police station is not manned 24/7... if you’re getting robbed in the middle of the night and call 000, you get put through to Tamworth.” The lack of Royalties for Regions funding for Wentworth, despite the region having mining interests and large deposits of heavy metals, was another source of contention, he said. In the north Mr Joyce pushed the new State in New England agenda in radio interviews and penned an opinion piece to coincide with the release of a Commonwealth White Paper on federation reform. An aim of the White Paper is to “clarify roles and responsibilities for States and territories so they are, as far as possible, sovereign in their own sphere”. Mr Joyce wrote “growing up in New England I was acutely aware of the 1967 referendum for a seventh state, in northern NSW, which was lost narrowly by an ill-fated late decision to include the city of Newcastle within the proposed borders. “The opposition to the proposition was Newcastle would never swallow being run from Armidale. “But the question northern NSW was posing at the time was: why should it be run from Sydney?” According to professor of constitutional law at the University of NSW Andrew Lynch, such comments “undercut” federation reform. “Those kinds of comments are a waste of oxygen from a political point of view,” he said. “It is incredibly unhelpful, given the Commonwealth is working on the Federation White Paper – which is in itself is the antithesis of abolishing the States.” Professor Lynch said establishing a new State would be politically impractical. “First, State parliament would need to agree to ceding some of its powers,” he said. “Second, the constitution doesn’t say as much, but the change couldn’t occur from a political point of view without a referendum. “Australia has had 44 referendums and only eight have succeeded. The willingness of the population to change the constitution is relatively low.” A spokesman for Deputy Premier and regional infrastructure and services minister Andrew Stoner said the government was committed to growing regional economies in places like Wentworth and New England.