Council Merger Update

Statement issued by Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM President  (Local Government New South Wales)

After weeks of speculation, the Premier has announced her position on forced council amalgamations. Unfortunately for many members, the decision is extremely disappointing and reflects little more than a drawn-out political compromise.

Premier Berejiklian announced the following:

· All existing amalgamations will be unchanged (in the city and in regional NSW)
· Planned forced amalgamations in regional NSW will not proceed
· Pending forced amalgamations in Sydney that are subject to court proceedings will go ahead, subject to decisions of the courts.

This represents a missed opportunity for the NSW Government and indeed for the new Minister for Local Government.

While many of our regional members will be celebrating, some of our city members are left with ongoing challenges as they continue to fight for their future in the courts, and in the case of amalgamated councils, manage significant internal change ahead of the next council elections.

While I am pleased LGNSW’s advocacy to the Deputy Premier on behalf of regional councils was successful, the fight goes on for those city councils opposed to their forced amalgamation. Clearly the NSW Government did not have the political will or courage to ‘listen’ to city communities in the same way as their country cousins.

Rest assured, LGNSW will continue to progress the real issues facing all councils – amalgamated or otherwise – financial sustainability, stronger governance and greater capability in local government.

We need to put an end to uncertainty and upheaval in our sector for the benefit of local democracy and local communities.

See the following for more information:

LGNSW Media Release
NSW Premier’s Media Release
Stronger Councils/Stronger Communities Website