Due to the protracted nature of current legal challenges and the uncertainty this is causing ratepayers, those council amalgamations currently before the courts will not proceed. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said while the amalgamations program had been successful and ratepayers in the merged councils were benefitting, the NSW Government had decided to end the uncertainty with the remaining proposed mergers.
“The Government’s merger policy has always been about putting ratepayers first and it has become increasingly clear that certain councils were happy to continue lengthy and costly legal proceedings,” Ms Berejiklian said. “We want to see councils focusing on delivering the best possible services and local infrastructure to their residents. That is why we are drawing a line under this issue today and ending the uncertainty.
“We are proud of what we have already achieved for local communities in the 20 merged councils, where significant savings and improvements to services and infrastructure have been delivered.” Local Government elections for all merged councils and the 14 affected by today’s announcement will be held on Saturday, 9 September.
The following proposed mergers will not proceed:
· Burwood, City of Canada Bay and Strathfield Municipal councils
· Hornsby Shire and Ku-ring-gai councils
· Hunter’s Hill, Lane Cove and City of Ryde councils
· Mosman Municipal, North Sydney and Willoughby City councils
· Randwick City, Waverley and Woollahra Municipal councils
Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton said it was important for local communities to have certainty in the lead up to the September local government elections. “The Government remains committed to reducing duplication, mismanagement and waste by councils so communities benefit from every dollar spent,” Ms Upton said.
“Since becoming Local Government Minister I’ve spoken to councillors, administrators, and ratepayers. We all share a commitment to improving our councils and providing better value for ratepayers. “The NSW Government wants to support what communities care about, which are parks, local roads, footpaths, services and value for their rates.” New councils have reported overall savings of more than $50 million between their establishment and March this year. This is almost three times more than original expectations