LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM AND “FIT FOR THE FUTURE” – The NSW Governments Council Mega-Amalgamation Agenda
BRIEF HISTORY / SUMMARY – WITH LINKS TO KEY DOCUMENTS
A Local Government Reform Process began 4 years ago with a report and recommendations made by a Local Government Independent Review Panel (ILGRP), Chaired by Prof Graham Sansom.
This made Several Key Recommendations designed to fix the underlying business models of Councils and prepare them for the future. The most important and pressing of these related to fixing the funding model for councils. The least pressing was to examine structural reform, or “mergers”.
With regard to structural reform the panel recommended that in the future, Councils should consider merging, OR FORMING STRENGTHENED REGIONAL ALLIANCES to enhance their “Scale and Capacity”.
Some “Mega-merger” options were put forward as “Preferences” for various councils – however NOTE – these were “plucked from the air” in the sense that they were not backed up by any rigorous economic or social modelling of costs or impacts.
No data or evidence was presented or examined as to whether theses “theoretical” mega-council ILGRP preferred options would enhance “scale and capacity” or not, or whether in fact, such large councils would be “over-scale” and “incapacitated” by being too far removed from their local communities.
One of these “plucked from the air” preferences was for a mega-merger of all six lower North Shore Councils – North Sydney, Mosman, Willoughby, Ryde, Lanecove and Hunters Hill, to form a huge single mega-council of over 300,000 people.
The full ILGRP report, delivered OCT 2013, can be viewed here.