The ongoing saga about local government boundary changes was given a spicy new twist late last week with the news that one key player in the negotiations had changed camps.

South Sydney City Council’s media manager, Damian Furlong, announced on Friday that he had accepted a new position in the office of the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Councillor Frank Sartor. Furlong, who is a former president of Mardi Gras, also frequently played a role in South Sydney City Council’s dealings with the lesbian and gay community.

Although reportedly furious when first informed of Furlong’s move, the mayor of South Sydney, Cr John Fowler, was philosophical about it when questioned by Sydney Star Observer yesterday. You can conjecture about what this move means all you like, he said. I don’t think Damian takes the community with him, I suggest that what Damian takes with him is his advocacy for the community, which may affect the Lord Mayor’s political appreciation of the gay and lesbian community.

Cr Fowler stressed that Furlong’s new appointment would not alter South Sydney City Council’s position in its fight against proposed boundary changes.

News of Furlong’s move came one week after he, in his capacity as media manager for South Sydney, addressed a meeting of representatives from key lesbian and gay community groups, formally requesting their support of South Sydney City Council’s position.

A meeting of representatives from gay and lesbian community groups was being held at the Pride centre as this edition of the Star went to press. That meeting was expected to draft a gay and lesbian community response to South Sydney’s request for support.

Damian Furlong was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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