NSW GOVERNMENT IS RECKLESSLY PUSHING ON WITH A MEGA-MERGER AGENDA, AGAINST ADVICE AND COMMUNITY WISHES.
In pushing ahead with an agenda of broad-scale forced amalgamations across NSW, the NSW Government is IGNORING, and FAILING TO HEED THE ADVICE and RECOMMENDATION OF:
A) Key Australian Experts in Local Government
1: Prof Brian Dollery – Australias and possibly the Worlds leading expert in Local Government reform and council amalgamations. He has published extensive research and evidence on council mergers, and is scathing of the Fit For The Future Process and forced amalgamations.
Brian Dollery SMH – No evidence that council mergers will improve performance
Brian Dollery Government News – Few Benefits to Council mergers – Expert
Brain Dollery News Local – Expert Scathing of amalgamation assessment
Brian Dollery – Alternatives to Amalgamation in Australian Local Government
2: Professor Graham Sansom – Chair of the Original Independent Review Panel on Local Government.
Professor Sansom has said “the ILGRP’s report had been misrepresented and poorly understood.” “The ILGRP did not argue that amalgamations are a panacea to the problems facing local government. It favoured a mix of some amalgamations – where appropriate and justified – and increased regional cooperation and resource sharing,” his submission said. Instead he argued for a broad package of policy changes to precede or accompany any boundary changes, including improvements to councils’ revenue bases and borrowing arrangements, better resource sharing, stronger regional organisations and better governance. Professor Sansom cautioned the NSW government against rushing the process and of being over-reliant on using the size of councils to predict their strategic capacity. He said there should be restrictions on the NSW government’s “currently unfettered right to impose amalgamations and boundary changes more or less at will” and advocated full community consultation, more careful analysis of the options and greater impartiality from both sides, including a stronger, more independent Boundary Committee”. NSW Local Government Reform blasted in public hearing
3: Dr Joseph Drew, from the University of New England’s Centre for Local Government. – Council merger decisions based on serious flaws.
“NSW councils were being forced into amalgamations unlikely to benefit local communities on the basis of flawed methodology, a leading academic has found”.
B) It is Also Against the Evidence, Advice and Recommendation of the BI-PARTISAN UPPER HOUSE PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY
Full list of findings and recommendations here:
Here are some key excerpts from the UPPER HOUSE PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY
Finding 5: That the scale and capacity criterion was a flawed criterion and it should not have been included in the Fit for the Future assessment criteria and accordingly assessments of councils’ fitness based on this threshold criterion are not well-founded.
Finding 9: That the projected economic benefits of council amalgamations have been consistently overstated by the proponents of forced amalgamations and the costs and extensive diseconomies of scale caused by amalgamations have not been adequately explained by those same proponents.
Recommendation 1: That the Premier and NSW Government withdraw the statements that 71 per cent of councils in metropolitan Sydney and 56 per cent of regional councils are ‘unfit’.
Recommendation 11: That the NSW Government commit to a policy of no forced amalgamations of local councils, except in circumstances where it can be established that a council is severely financially unsustainable to the point of bankruptcy or unable to maintain an acceptable level of service provision.
Recommendation 17: That the NSW Government work with local government on a statutory model for Joint Organisations based on the Hunters Hill, Ryde and Lane Cove Council model as a cooperative and consensus model for local council reform in Metropolitan Sydney.
C) It is against the advice and position of the NSW Liberal Party leadership, and major leading branches of the NSW Liberal Party; including:
Trent Zimmerman – President of the NSW Liberal party, and newly elected Federal member for North Sydney – See Trent’s recent Federal election campaign speech opposing forced amalgamations and vowing to oppose forced amalgamations on behalf of residents of his North Sydney electorate –
Woollahra, Mosman, Balmoral and Clifton Garden Branches of Liberal party – See – Health Minister Skinner “Skinned” By Own Branches Over Forced Amalgamation
D) It is against the express wishes of a MAJORITY OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT NSW:
Opposition to forced council mergers contributed to a massive 13.5% swing against the Liberal party, from within it’s own heartland, at the North Sydney By-election on Dec 5th 2015.
Less than 1 in 5 local residents support forced amalgamations -results of large professional, independent survey.
See videos from the Rally for Local Democracy representing the views of:
NO AMALGAMATION VIDEO MESSAGE FROM GUNDAGAI – https://videopress.com/v/xBAqBW79?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0
HUNTERS HILL COMMUNITY JOINS HUNDREDS To PROTEST AGAINST FORCED AMALGAMATION – https://videopress.com/v/U2VvPzi9?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0
NO AMALGAMATION VIDEO MESSAGE FROM RESIDENTS OF PITTWATER – https://www.facebook.com/savehuntershill/videos/554330958048851/?theater