Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fit for the Future Amalgamations: Council Maneuverings

NSW future is filled with flexibility and choice ...
It is cheaper to run communities in India

Congratulations to those who will be involved in the parliamentary inquiry into the Baird government's "Fit for the Future" council amalgamation program ("Speed bumps for the amalgamation plans", May 27). There is no empirical evidence to suggest larger councils are better and more fiscally advantageous to the public interest. In fact, as Greens MP David Shoebridge (pictured) has cited, our councils are already larger than their European counterparts.
There is no doubt in my mind that Woollahra Council is right to be fighting the amalgamation with Waverley and Randwick; the Waverley mayor is strongly supporting the three-way merger. It would suit her own political aspirations and power base. A greater merger with Botany and City of Sydney would substantially dilute the power of the Waverley mayor, who also works for Malcolm Turnbull. It is hard to have confidence in the proposals when such political maneuverings are displayed.
Danielle Ecuyer Bondi Junction (SMH Letters 28 May 2015)

Plans to almost halve the number of local government authorities in Perth have been put on hold for the foreseeable future Experience from the Conservative, but Democratic, Western Australia 

Contemporary Australian public policy has come to rely increasingly on technical reports produced by commercial consultants in contrast to the traditional approach, which employed disinterested public servants to generate the specialist information required to inform decision makers. This approach is fraught with problems, not least the fact that ‘hired guns’ have strong incentives to create the ‘answers’ sought by their employers
A cautionary tale: council amalgamation in Tasmania and the deloitte access economics report

"We encourage people to make their views regarding Fit for the Future proposals known to their councils. The public can also make submissions to IPART via our website from 1 to 31 July on council proposals, after we have received proposals from councils. " Fit for the Future

Save Our Suburbs (NSW) Inc is a non-profit & non-aligned group of residents, opposing forced rezoning and over-development of Sydney’s suburbs. We promote sustainable living to protect our planet.
Save Our Suburbs 

Community Action Groups

Overseas examples of tragic political manouvers
Cheltenham's Former Mayor, Barbara Driver, Slammed For Saying 'When Rape Is Inevitable, Lie Back And Enjoy It

"They abolished the Human Rights Act” sounds like the first sentence of an Aldous Huxley novel. The Conservatives actually campaigned on a manifesto pledge to get rid of human rights and people voted for it. As electoral choices go, it’s not far off choosing to be ruled by a dry, whispering voice taunting you from an antique mirror.
Radical political behaviour

The Baird government's plans to create larger councils through its "Fit for the Future" amalgamation program is headed for a parliamentary inquiry which could delay or even derail the  ambitious plans to merge  41 Sydney councils into about 18 by the end of the year.
Christian Democrat Paul Green has won support from the Greens and the Shooters for an upper house inquiry, which would not report until August 17.
Parliamentary inquiry into fit for the future 

May 13 Sydney, New South Wales

May 29
This week we decided to merge to form a new eastern suburbs council. It's the only way to avoid global city:

May 29
A new eastern suburbs council will save $143M, protect local identity, stave off global city and help residents
The politically explosive issue of council amalgamations is haunting Eastern Surburbs.
Rattled Randwick Residents

At a recent forum there was a resident from Randwick who asked about submissions to IPART in relation to this survey and the answer is that public will be able to provide submissions from the 1st of July 2015 to the 31st of July 2015.
"I'm a Randwick Resident, at a Precinct meeting late last year we asked how we could not
possibly be meeting the capacity with all the new development currently under
construction and in the pipe line for future construction for the next 10 years or more. We
were told that future projects and sites that have yet to have approval but will be
developed are not being included in the capacity. We have many thousands of new
properties that are in this category which will make our local area over congested
already if this is not considered this area will be more like the city and Bondi and we
don't want this. I moved away from Bondi and Waverley for a better life style now we
find that Randwick is being forced to grow beyond what residents want. I feel that the
survey we were provided was bias and didn't give residents a clear option to not merge.
Everyone I spoke with did not know that they could choose not to merge and thought
that they had to choose a merger option leading to a distortion."

Botany Bay Mayor Ben Keneally has declared his council will not be stampeded into voluntary amalgamations, hitting out at the “fear mongering” surrounding the Fit for the Future reform push.
Randwick Council bended the knee to the State Government’s contentious Fit for the Future reforms at a meeting on Tuesday night, voting in favour of merge bid with Botany Bay and Waverley.
Botany Bay hits out at fit for the future fear mongering

Fears are growing rapidly among NSW Councils that a new $1 billion State government package deal tied to reforms is a Trojan horse for council amalgamations in the lead up to the March 2015 State election.
This week NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird dangled a swag of incentives in front of councils, including the holy grail of more rate-setting flexibility, alongside cheaper loan finance; greater planning powers; priority access to state funding and grants and a wedge of cash to help any councils that want to merge but there is a catch: local governments must first prove they are ‘Fit for the Future
Forced Amalgamation Spectre Returns

Beautiful streetscapes and family services could be at risk if Leichhardt Council is forced to amalgamate with councils that do not provide services such as lawnmowing and council childcare, says the Mayor Rochelle Porteous.
Cr Porteous said she would not be bullied and manipulated by the state government into forced council amalgamations, despite increasing Liberal and Labor support on the council for a back-up merger option if Leichhardt cannot stand alone. Leichhardt Council

Moves to fast-track council amalgamations in NSW have hit a snag with two separate calls for an inquiry into the Baird Government's Fit for the Future plan.

Labor's Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Primrose has called for an investigation into the plan that aims to merge 41 Sydney councils into about 18 by the year's end.

Regional councils are also being considered for amalgamation, including several on the North Coast that are likely to be deemed unprofitable under scrutiny from the program.
Mr Primrose said he does not believe the Baird Government's pre-election promise there would be no forced amalgamations.

"Mike Baird is hell bent on forcing councils to amalgamate, regardless of whether it's the best option for communities across NSW," he said.

The inquiry might also learn a lot about residents’ fears for a lost community and what actually eventuated in Evans and ask how IPART could adequately assess that impact elsewhere. It will be a hugely difficult task but the IPART fitness test should be better for it.
Our say chance to test the fitness of council amalgamation

It was great to catch up with Rosemary MacKenzie, secretary of Randwick City Council Kensington West Kingsford Precinct Committee today who was protesting outside New South Wales State Parliament against the forced amalgamation of Councils. Ms MacKenzie rightfully asserts amalgamations will not be in the interests of Randwick residents and should not proceed without a referendum.