Community Opposition to Council Merger Loud and Clear
The Leichhardt community is on record with its firm support for Leichhardt Council to stand alone.
Council has carried out two comprehensive consultations with the community, and the result has been overwhelming.
A random phone survey conducted in 2016 showed that 63% of the community want Council to stand alone.
An earlier phone survey in 2015 showed 55% support for the stand alone option, while an online survey showed 72% of the community against amalgamation.
Forced Amalgamation Public Inquiry and Submissions
Despite a strong case showing that Leichhardt Council and its ratepayers would be better off standing alone, the Minister for Local Government Paul Tool has put forward a proposal to forcibly amalgamate Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield Councils.
You can read the NSW Government's Merger Proposal for: Ashfield Council, Leichhardt Municipal Council, Marrickville Council - January 2016 (PDF 1.2MB) here
The community will now have one final chance to convince the Minister that an amalgamation is the wrong choice for Leichhardt, through a written submission.
Public Rally at Hyde Park
Please come along and show your support in opposing the forced Council amalgamations.
When: Sunday 13 March 2016
What time: 12pm
Where: Hyde Park, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, Australia
Please come along and show your support in opposing the forced Council amalgamations.
Council's Final Submission to the Delegate
Read Leichhardt Council's Final Submission to the Delegate regarding the Ashfiled, Leichhardt, Marrickville Merger (PDF 8.7MB)
Written submissions to the Council Boundary Review were due 28 February 2016.
The Review is recommending that submissions address one or more of the following factors:
- Financial advantages or disadvantages of the proposal to the residents and ratepayers
- Communities of interest and geographic cohesion in the existing areas and in any proposed new area
- Existing historical and traditional values in the existing areas and the impact of change on them
- Attitudes of the residents and ratepayers of the areas concerned
- Any effects the merge might have on elected representation
- Any impacts the merger proposal could have on the ability of the council to provide adequate, equitable and appropriate services and facilities
- Impacts on the employment of council staff
- Desirability (or otherwise) of dividing the resulting area or areas into wards
- Ensuring the opinions of diverse communities are effectively represented
Your submission should address at least one of these factors.
How to make a written submission
Submissions closed 5pm on Sunday 28 February.
Extraordinary Meeting - 19 January 2016
Read the Report from 19 January 2016 Extra Ordinary Meeting regarding NSW Government’s merger proposal – Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils (PDF 8.4MB)
Read the 19 January 2016 Extra Ordinary Meeting Minutes regarding NSW Government’s merger proposal – Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils (PDF 75.9KB)
Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils have all resolved to submit a joint merger preference in response to the State Government’s proposal for forced amalgamations.
All three councils remain committed to their strong preference to stand alone.
Each of the councils demonstrated that they were financially sustainable and capable of serving their communities as stand alone councils. However they failed to meet the arbitrary population benchmark, as did most Sydney Metropolitan councils who failed the Fit for the Future assessment.
In submitting a merger preference the councils seek to avert the threats of possible dismissal, appointment of an administrator in place of democratically elected representatives, and/or forced amalgamations with other councils.
The merger between Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville was deemed by all three Councils the best option for local communities if the State Government pushes on with forced amalgamations.
At a meeting with the Minister for Local Government on Tuesday 10 November, the Minister made a commitment that if Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville submitted a merger preference – and forced amalgamations did proceed – then that merger preference would be accepted. This rules out the State Government forcing any other amalgamation options.
The Minister also confirmed that if Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville submitted a preference, they would not be placed under administration.
Updated financial modelling shows that the three council merger option produces estimated savings of $75 million over 10 years.
This financial outlook far outweighs the savings in the original proposal for a merger of six inner west councils, which also included Canada Bay, Strathfield and Burwood.
Talks between Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville pinpointed shared similarities and interests, including a similar approach to development and heritage, as well as strong social and cultural links between residents in all three communities.
Submitting a preferred merger option will also ensure that the community benefits from $25 million funding currently on offer from the State Government - $15 million for community infrastructure and $10 million to help cover some of the costs of the merge.
Councils who do not submit a preferred merger option will have no access to this funding. This was also confirmed by the Minister at the meeting of 10 November.
The State Government released the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal assessment of NSW local councils on 20 October. At that time they essentially forced local councils to consider resubmitting merger preferences, with a deadline of 18 November.
The three councils have received expert legal advice that indicates the State Government has the authority to initiate amalgamations without consent of councils, and suspend councils and appoint an administrator during that process. Any such actions though could be subject to legal challenge. The councils will be ensuring the Government’s process complies with all legal requirements.
Resolution of Council
At the Council meeting of 10 November, Leichhardt Council resolved that Council:
1.Reaffirms its unambiguous position that Leichhardt Council can and should stand alone - the recently updated evidence based business case clearly shows this remains the best option for our community.
2. Provides feedback to the State Government on IPART’s assessment of our Fit for the Future Standalone submission in line with the details contained within this report
3. Responds immediately to the State Government’s invitation for merger preferences by advising that
a. Leichhardt Council’s 3 way merger preference with Ashfield and Marrickville Councils is offered strictly on the basis that the Government proceeds with compulsory mergers.
b. The 3 way merger preference does not constitute an amalgamation proposal under the Local Government Act
c. Leichhardt Council reiterates its strong stand alone position, categorically rejects the State Government’s 6 council Inner West merger, or any merger involving Auburn Council, and will withdraw from this 3 way merger preference if the State Government does not proceed with forced amalgamations.
4. Immediately make all expert internal and external legal advice Councillors have received on this matter publicly available.
5. That Leichhardt Council support the “Rally for Local Democracy” on 18 November organised by Unions NSW and Save Our Council’s Coalition.
You can read Council's legal advice regarding state powers to suspend councils and force amalgamations here (PDF 535KB).
IPART’s Fit For The Future Assessment Report
Council will deliver a leaflet to every resident and business address in the LGA over the coming days outlining what has been said in the IPART report and the next steps for Council. You can read that information here, or download a copy of the leaflet.
IPART Assessment Report (PDF 3.1MB)
On Tuesday 20 October the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) released its assessment of NSW councils as part of the Fit for the Future reform process.
Leichhardt Council is disappointed by its ruling that Council is not ‘fit for the future’, despite meeting all financial sustainability benchmarks.
Council made a strong case for standing alone. We satisfied all of the financial, infrastructure, service management and efficiency criteria. However, our population is simply not large enough to meet the ‘scale and capacity’ benchmark.
Council has now been given until 18 November 2015 to discuss our options.
The State Government is offering $25M in funding to help to cover merger costs and new community facilities if three or more councils merge. That funding is only available to councils who present a preferred merger option that the State deems fit by 18 November.
The IPART report does not recommend specific mergers, but the Government has made it clear it wants councils to amalgamate.
The State’s Legal Powers To Dismiss Council and Force a Merger
Although it could be subject to challenge, the State has the legal power to refer an amalgamation proposal to the Boundaries Commission without inquiry. The State can also suspend Council and appoint an administrator.
This would essentially mean the dismissal of all democratically elected councillors and a forced merger without Council playing any role in determining our future.
The IPART assessment report
|| Council’s response
|Council did not demonstrate that its proposal to stand alone would be as good as or better than the Independent Local Government Review Panel preferred merger.
||Council’s proposal (and supporting business case) clearly demonstrated that the stand alone position was not just as good as, but actually superior to, the Independent Review Panel’s merger proposal for the Inner West.
|Our [IPART’s] analysis suggests the council does not have sufficient scale to partner effectively with government compared to the merger.
||It was impossible to provide a meaningful response to the arbitrary issues of scale and strategic capacity when both concepts were ill-defined, lacked metrics and were not validated
|Our analysis suggests the merger could produce net benefits of $396m over 20 years.
||This ignores the significant infrastructure backlog (asset gap) that must be funded from the benefits arising from mergers. Our initial modelling showed the asset gap exceeded potential savings by around $40 million over 10 years.
|Our analysis is consistent with the ILGRP preferred option for Leichhardt to merge with neighbouring councils.
||The ILGRP preferred option (six council merger) doesn’t exist anymore as the Auburn, Canada Bay and Burwood merger has been approved as fit. The ILGRP never provided any evidence-based reasons for their recommended merger of six councils.
Council will report the results of discussions with neighbouring councils at the November 10 Policy Meeting, held at 6:30pm in Council chambers at Leichhardt Town Hall.
This will allow us to make a response to the State Government by the deadline of 18 November.
Anyone may attend and speak at this meeting.
What are the options for Leichhardt Council?
Leichhardt Council’s remains committed to our first preference of standing alone. Despite strong evidence that we are financially sustainable, a State Government tribunal (IPART) has found that our Council should be amalgamated.
- Leichhardt Council Refuses to submit a Preferred Merger
Leichhardt could refuse to submit a merger preference.
The State Government will not clarify what it will do to Councils who do so. Although it could be legally challenged, it is possible Council could be dismissed, an administrator appointed to make decisions in place of Councillors, and an amalgamation forced.
Councils who do not submit a preference will have no access to the funding currently on offer.
- Leichhardt Council with Ashfield and Marrickville Councils
Leichhardt Ashfield and Marrickville Councils are the three remaining councils from the inner west ‘mega council’ that are still available to discuss merger options.
Both Ashfield and Marrickville Councils have resolved to enter into discussions with Leichhardt Council about a possible merger.
- Leichhardt Council With Canada Bay And Ashfield Councils
Council has previously resolved that, if forced to merge, this would be the preferred option.
However Canada Bay has already proposed a merger with Burwood and Auburn Councils, which has been deemed Fit for the Future.
- Leichhardt Council with Ashfield, Burwood, Canada Bay, Marrickville and Strathfield Councils
This was the original recommendation from the Independent Local Government Review Panel.
However, Burwood and Canada Bay Councils have already proposed a merger with Auburn Council, which has been ruled Fit for the Future.
- Leichhardt Council with Burwood, Canada Bay and Auburn Councils
Burwood, Canada Bay and Auburn Councils have already proposed a merger that has been deemed Fit for the Future by the IPART report.
If Leichhardt Council does not propose a merger that the State Government deems as Fit for the Future, there is a possibility that we could be forced to become part of this merger.
- Leichhardt Council with City of Sydney
Council shares a boundary with the City of Sydney. Previous boundary adjustments have made sections of the Camperdown and Glebe, which were previously in the Leichhardt Municipality, part of the City of Sydney.
However, City of Sydney have repeatedly resolved to stand alone. They have rejected approaches from other councils to consider merger options.
The Independent Local Government Review Panel report also does not identify City of Sydney as an amalgamation option for Leichhardt Council.
What will Council do now?
The Government has instructed us to investigate further amalgamation options, therefore Council will enter into discussions with our neighbouring councils.
We have obtained and are reviewing updated financial modelling on the impacts of the merger options.
Council’s priority now is making sure that we get the best possible result for our residents.
Find Out More
To view the complete IPART report Assessment of Council Fit for the Future Proposals please go to:
You can also call Council on 9367 9222
On Thursday 29 October the Legislative Council released a final report from the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Fit for the Future reforms.
It presents 17 recommendations, including:
- 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’.
- That the NSW Government implement the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s recommendations to strengthen the independence of the Boundaries Commission and ensure a robust and consultative process is in place to consider council amalgamation proposals before any further steps are taken by the government in relation to council amalgamations.
- 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.
It presents nine findings, including:
- While the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has significant capacity to analyse the finances of local government it does not have the demonstrated skills or capacity to assess the overall ‘fitness’ of councils as democratically responsible local bodies.
- 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.
- 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.
Read the full report here.
The Terms of Reference for this Inquiry are wide-ranging, and incorporate the key issues local councils have been raising on behalf of their communities, including concerns around the issue of forced amalgamation and the supposed benefits to resident and ratepayers, and possible improvements to the funding framework for local government.
Read Terms of Reference here.
Fit for the Future and Parliamentary Inquiry Submission
Council at its Ordinary meeting on 23 June 2015 finalised its Fit for Future Submission to IPART - maintaining its long held position to stand alone and explore options for a joint organisation arrangement with our neighbouring Inner West Councils. Also finalised was Council submission to the Legislative Council Parliamentary Inquiry.
You can find the submissions and attachments below.
Fit for the Future Submission to IPART
Fit for the Submission Council Improvement Proposal (PDF 704.6KB)
Fit for the Submission Council Improvement Proposal - Attachment A (PDF 128.6KB)
Fit for the Submission Council Improvement Proposal - Attachment B (PDF 2.5MB)
Fit for the Submission Council Improvement Proposal - Attachment C (PDF 2.9MB)
Fit for the Submission Council Improvement Proposal - Attachment E (PDF 8.8MB)
Fit for the Submission Council Improvement Proposal - Attachment F (PDF 231.5KB)
Fit for the Submission Council Improvement Proposal - Attachment G (PDF 167.7KB)
Fit for the Submission Council Improvement Proposal - Attachment H (PDF 359.3KB)
Fit for the Submission Council Improvement Proposal - Attachment J (PDF 60.5KB)
Fit for the Submission Council Improvement Proposal - Attachment K (PDF 115.2KB)
Parliamentary Inquiry Submission
Council's Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry
Read some history on the Fit for the Future reform process here.
The State Government have appointed the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to act as the independent Expert Advisory Panel and assess whether NSW councils are Fit for the Future.
On Friday 5 June 2015 IPART released its Assessment Methodology for the Fit for the Future proposals.
The Methodology, including Fact Sheet and Media Statement, are available on the IPART website
The methodology largely conforms to that proposed by the State Government, relying largely on financial quantitative measures to determine whether a council is Fit for the Future.
Leichhardt Council believes that IPART has failed to incorporate the feedback from 170 submissions and has missed an opportunity in not incorporating equally important qualitative measures such as
- strong community opposition to mergers;
- loss of political governance and local representation;
- impacts on existing communities of interest particularly with respect to a loss of identity and place within a huge new conglomerate;
- loss of local accountability and ability to respond in a timely and appropriate way to local needs;
- the need for a local Council to reflect local values and prioritise local issues;
- and the corporate governance impacts including significant organisational upheaval.
Council does however welcome an indication in the methodology’s that Joint Organisations will be considered as an alternative to mergers for Metropolitan Councils.
IPART has outlined how they will assess scale and capacity and have returned to the Independent Panel's preferred positions - ie the six council Mega Council, with a Joint Organisation as the fall back option.
Leichhardt Council, while required to investigate merger options, intends to submit a submission that argues for Council to standalone with improvements which include a Joint Organisations proposal.
Council's Fit for the Future Submission
Please take a look at our submission documents here
Council's IPART Submission
Leichhardt Council made a submission to IPART regarding the methodology it used to assess whether NSW Councils are Fit for the Future.
Read Leichhardt Council's Draft Fit for the Future IPART Assessment Submission (PDF 55KB)
The Fit for the Future program requires councils to actively assess their scale and capacity in achieving long term sustainability, and for councils to submit proposals to the Government indicating how they will achieve these objectives.
Ashfield, Burwood, City of Canada Bay, Leichhardt and Marrickville approached Morrison Low to undertake shared modelling across a broad range of factors (financial, social, environmental) in order for each council to understand the implications of local government reform in the inner west of Sydney’s metropolitan area.
This report does not reach an overall view as to whether an option or options provides the best outcome for any of the councils but rather provides data for councils and their communities to determine the best option.
Inner West Councils - Shared Modelling Report - Prepared by Morrison Low (PDF 2.5MB)
As part of Morrison Low’s report into the merger of the six inner west councils, Council received a tool which allows very basic modelling of other combinations of council mergers.
These models only measure the performance of alternative merger options against the seven financial Fit for the Future benchmarks provided by the State Government.
It in no way measures the impact of these other merger options on rates or services.
None the less, Leichhardt Council still performs best as a standalone council within the Fit for the Future financial benchmark modelling.
Council’s internal modelling of the alternative council merge options are available below.
Internal modelling of the seven Fit for the Future financial benchmarks (PDF 416.6KB)
Given the evidence provided so far, Leichhardt Council is firmly opposed to any amalgamation. It will not benefit our residents or ratepayers.
Leichhardt with four of the five other councils recommended for the inner west merger, commissioned independent experts to carry out modelling on what amalgamation would mean to our residents.
The Shared Modelling Report is now available: Inner West Councils - Shared Modelling Report - Prepared by Morrison Low (PDF 2.5MB)
It shows that Leichhardt Council currently meets five of the seven "Fit for the Future" benchmarks, and is fully capable of meeting the two remaining benchmarks over the next five years.
On first reading, the report indicates that we only meet four out of seven benchmarks now and will only meet six of the seven in five years. This is because the report bases the asset maintenance benchmark on a broad industry bench mark figure. Council currently does and will continue to meet the asset maintenance benchmark based on actual asset condition data and community satisfaction.
On the other hand, the modelling shows that after ten years of operation the mega council will only meet four of the seven benchmarks set by the Fit for the Future Panel. To meet the remaining three, the new council would most likely need to raise rates.
At the Extraordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 2 June 2015 Council resolved that (C252/15E):
1. In conjunction with the current exhibition of Council's draft Fit for the Future proposal to be submitted to the State Government by the 30th June 2015, Council restates its unambiguous preference and intention to stand-alone as an independent council
and further that Council
3. Notes the NSW Government's public statements indicate a clear intention to proceed with amalgamating Councils.
4. a) Notes that Council’s draft Fit for Future submission meets all of the Government's indicators by 2017, excluding scale
b) and therefore that Council identify other Sydney Councils which also meet all criteria excluding scale and seek their cooperation in joint advocacy and a joint statement to support these demonstrably sustainable Councils stand-alone positions.
5. a) Notes the findings of the Morrison Low study that amalgamation with all 6 inner west councils would likely result in increasing rates and services being reduced for residents in Leichhardt Municipality. b) Further notes that amalgamation of Leichhardt, Ashfield and Canada Bay Councils would meet all the Fit for the Future criteria, excluding scale, by 2017 and that of all possible merger options, of 3 Councils or more, this option would be the least likely to cause rates to increase and services to be reduced for Leichhardt residents. c) In the context of the above, approach Ashfield and Canada Bay Councils about jointly investigating a contingency plan for a merger of these Councils, with the objective of protecting residents from the rate increases and the loss of services.
6. Restates its thanks to council staff for their excellent work on the draft Fit for the Future proposal.
Read our flyer March 2015:
What Could Happen if Leichhardt is Forced to Amalgamate (PDF 1.8MB)
Read the text version of our information flyer - March 2015
Leichhardt Council with four of the five other councils agreed to opening discussion on responding to the Fit for the Future program and signed an MoU. Read the MoU here (PDF 29.6KB). Strathfield Council has resolved not to make a submission on the Fit for the Future program and is not currently a signatory on the MoU.
As a result of the MOU, the councils engaged independent experts Morrison Low to carrying out modelling that looked at the likely impacts of an inner west super council on the community, specifically in terms of the how it may impact:
- service delivery
- the ability of local residents and businesses to interact and participate in local decision making
All NSW Councils have been requested to undertake a self-assessment, then prepare a road map to become ‘Fit for the Future’ and submit it to the State Government by 30 June 2015.
The submission will be assessed by an independent panel and those councils deemed as being ‘Fit for the Future’ will be given access to reform funding, improved State borrowing facilities, reduced red tape and extra planning powers.
The criteria for being “Fit for the Future” has been designed to make councils fail and it has been noted that not even the City of Sydney would be able to meet the “Fit for the Future” criteria set by the State Government.
The five councils have also produced a website where all shared information is available including each Council's position and individual and combined media releases.
Amalgamating into one large super council could see the community impacted in many ways. Some of the impacts could include:
- Higher rates to cover the costs associated with amalgamating and/or de-amalgamating if mergers fail
- More competition for local services
- Less visibility in where your rates are spent because your money has to service a wider area
- More compliance measures and red tape in dealing with a larger bureaucracy
- More difficulty contacting the correct people when you have a problem in your local area
- Loss of advocacy on local issues
- Loss of local accountability and being able to talk to decision-makers directly
- Loss of local area independence. Leichhardt has a strong local government history including a number of first milestones. This has been able to occur because of its strong history of independent action. Find out more about the history of the Leichhardt local government area
Read our latest information flyer March 2015:
What Could Happen if Leichhardt is Forced to Amalgamate (PDF 1.8MB)
Read the text version of our information flyer - March 2015
Meeting Notes: 7 May Public Meeting
On 7 May 2015 Council held a public meeting at Balmain Town Hall to discuss the proposed amalgamation threat.
Read the Meeting Notes - 7 May Amalgamations Public Meeting Notes (PDF 39.9KB) here
Below are the Council reports where Amalgamations and the Fit for the Future Program were discussed.
25 February 2015 Ordinary Meeting - Item 3.01 Fit for the Future (PDF 123.2KB)
Further reports and submissions can be found below.
The 'Revitalising Local Government' report was released in January 2014 as well as Taskforce Report on a new Local Government Act.
Read the 'Revitalising Local Government' Final Report (PDF 3.3MB)
Read the NSW Government Taskforce Report (PDF 1.1MB)
A detailed response to both reports was considered at the February 2014 Ordinary council meeting
Read Leichhardt Council's Submission to the Revitalising Local Government Report (PDF 135.9KB)
Read the 25 February Ordinary Meeting Report - ITEM 3.02 - DESTINATION 2036 – REVITALISING LOCAL GOVERNMENT; AND A NEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT FOR NSW (pdf 192.8KB)
The Revitalising Local Government report made 65 recommendations around local government reform. In particular, The Review Panel is recommending Leichhardt amalgamate with Ashfield, Burwood, Canada Bay, Marrickville and Strathfield – and requested evidenced based responses to this proposal.
Council’s response is very clear, in that it supports structured and systematic local government reform centered on resource sharing/strategic alliances BUT firmly rejects any proposals involving a merger with neighbouring councils.
The Panel’s recommendations and the Local Government Act Taskforce Report were then considered by the State Government.
On 10 September 2014 the State Government released its 'Fit for the Future' response and in doing so, announced funding up to $1 billion for local government in NSW to assist councils implement the Government supported recommendations.
You can find more details at http://www.fitforthefuture.nsw.gov.au
The Independent Review Panel's earlier paper was called Future Directions for NSW Local Government - Twenty Essential Steps.
Read the Future Directions for NSW Local Government (PDF 2MB) paper
This paper recommends that Leichhardt Council is amalgamated with the City of Sydney, Woollahra, Waverly, Randwick, Botany and Marrickville Council to form a new Sydney Council with a population of almost 800,000 people.
Read Leichhardt Council's Submission on the Future Directions Paper (PDF 7.1MB)
Read the 2036 Council Report from the June 2013 Ordinary Meeting (PDF 1.6MB)
In November 2012, the Independent Review Panel produced a second paper about reforms for local councils.
Read The Case for Sustainable Change (PDF 1.7MB) paper.
Read Leichhardt Council's Feedback to the Case for Sustainable Change Paper (PDF 19.7KB)
Read the Destination 2036 Council Report - February 2013 Ordinary Meeting Item (PDF 79.5KB)
In July 2012 the Independent Review Panel produced a paper asking for local government feedback.
Read the Strengthening Your Community paper (DOC 237KB)
Read Leichhardt Council’s Feedback to the Strengthening Your Community paper (PDF 107.9KB)
Read the Destination 2036 Council Report - August 2012 Ordinary Meeting Item 7A (PDF 3.9MB)
For further information please contact the General Manager's Office on 9367 9285.
In 2008, Queensland councils were more than halved in amalgamations from 157 councils to 73.
There were a number of communities which were resentful at the lack of consultation on issues which directly impacted on their own backyards.
Four years later, in the 2012 State Election Campaign, the Queensland Government supported the rights of communities to determine their own future as an independent local government area and gave councils a vote to reverse the decision to amalgamate.
In 2013, the former Noosa, Douglas, Livingstone and Mareeba shires were given the opportunity to vote to de-amalgamate their councils and all voted to have their councils reinstated by the start of following year.
Many of these Councils have had to bear the financial brunt of de-amalgamations.
Find out more about the Queensland Amalgamations at the below links:
Local councils were amalgamated in Victoria during the Kennett Government in the 1990s.
The Government stated that the reforms would result in savings in the order of $400 million however operating costs for councils increased and local communities did not not make any substantial economic gains from the amalgamation of local councils.
Research also showed that the Victorian local government reforms decreased opportunities for citizens and community to deliberate on the issues that impacted on their lives.
Other factors associated with the reform process were additional cost implications, the lowering of service levels and an increase in diminished council resources because staff were distracted away from their normal duties into areas in which they had little training and experience.
In 2002, Delatite Shire was de-amalgamated into two distinct populations reversing the amalgamation in 1999.
Find out more about the Victorian Amalgamations at the below link:
In 2009 a "super city" was proposed for the full metropolitan area of Auckland consisting of a single mayor and 20–30 local boards. The eight existing councils amalgamated into one.
One of the criticisms of the new "super city "local government" was the proposed "local boards" being remnants of the former councils having little power, such as having no funding or staff of their own, and being forbidden from undertaking numerous government roles, especially where those roles might clash with regional functions such as transport or utilities.
Amalgamating the eight councils into one, was supposed to enable the region to do more with fewer staff. However, since 2011 total staff numbers (including Council Controlled Organisations) have increased from 9,300 to 11,134 while the annual wage and salary bill has jumped from $615m to $730m.
Other problems faced by Auckland's amalgamation was an unexpected blow out in a component of the IT budget (the total cost estimated to be over $500 million) for bringing all 8 Councils up to speed technologically. This small part of the IT changes blew out from $71 million to $140 million.
The NSW State Government is only offering $10.5 m for a group of councils to amalgamate.
Find out more about the Auckland Amalgamations at the below link:
All NSW Councils need to submit a self-assessment to become 'Fit for the Future' to the State Government by 30 June 2015.
The NSW Government expects that council amalgamations will formally commence in October 2015, transitional governance arrangements put in place (i.e. local transition committees comprising the Mayor and 1 councillor from each council plus the General Managers) and mergers completed by September 2016 in time for the next local government elections.
September 2014: NSW Government announced Fit for the Future reform package
October: Leichhardt Council resolves to open discussion with surrounding councils.
November: Leichhardt, Ashfield, Burwood, City of Canada Bay and Marrickville councils sign a Memorandum of Understand to undertake shared modelling project.
February 2015: Modelling project completed.
March: Council begins talking to the community about the results.
May: Council’s response to Fit for the Future to be exhibited and considered.
June: Council must respond to Fit for the Future.
October: New boundaries to be determined by State Government.
September 2016: Local Government Elections based on new council boundaries.
On 17-18 August 2011, representatives from all 152 NSW councils came together in Dubbo for the Destination 2036 workshop, organised by the Division of Local Government to commence the process of developing this plan.
Representatives at the workshop agreed that:
- existing communities of interest should be preserved
- there is no particular structural reform model that fits all Local Government areas
- resource and services should be shared where beneficial to local communities
- long term financial sustainability must be assured (funding reforms are essential)
A Independent Steering Committee (ISC) was established to build on the work of the workshop and to develop a specific Action Plan by the end of 2011 for implementation in 2012. Out of this Action Plan an Independent Review Commission was formed.
The ISC released an Outcomes Report including a Draft Vision for NSW Government seeking comment. Leichhardt Council made a submission to the Outcomes report.
Read Destination 2036 Outcomes Report (PDF 4.8MB)
Read Leichhardt Council’s Outcomes Report Submission (DOC 57KB)
Read Leichhardt Council's Outcomes Report Submission (DOC 57KB)
Leichhardt Council discussed the Outcomes Report at the October 2011 Ordinary Council
The ISC then produced a Draft Action Plan for comment.
Read the Destination 2036 Draft Action Plan (PDF 4.6MB)
Read Leichhardt Council’s and other Councils submissions to the Draft Plan at the Division of Local Government website.
In 2012 the Destination 2036 Final Action Plan (PDF 1.2MB) was produced and an Independent Review Panel was formed to produce a series of papers for comment.
Read the Destination 2036 Final Action Plan (PDF 1.2MB)
The Independent Review Panel held a public hearing on Tuesday 28 May 2013.
Time: 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Venue: SMC Conference & Function Centre, 66 Goulburn Street, Sydney
Read the Independent Review Panel Media Release (PDF 164.6KB) for more details.