Ignoring the wishes of local communities across NSW the Baird Government has announced it will press ahead with its ugly forced amalgamation agenda and has proclaimed 19 forced council amalgamations.
Strong and sustainable councils like Tumbarumba, Guyra, Marrickville and Pittwater are being forced to merge despite all the best evidence showing that when councils have been forced to amalgamate rates have gone up, services have stagnated and residents end up less connected to the councillors who represent them. Many other councils have been saved from Baird’s axe by strong community campaigns and legal actions.
This is far from over and the Greens are committed to legislation that would give residents, in every council the subject of a forced merger, the right to vote in a binding plebiscite on de-merging
They are uniting against the Baird government’s ‘Fit for the Future’ reform agenda that is pushing for heavy handed council amalgamations.
Premier Mike Baird has given councils an ultimatum to make a decision favouring amalgamation by November 18 – or else what?
Forced amalgamations are not inevitable. They can be defeated.
What is ‘Fit for the Future’?
Fit for the Future is the marketing name for the Baird government’s push to super-size councils. The government’s campaign was given a recent push by a hopelessly biased IPART report in late October.
IPART was given the job of judging whether local council’s are ‘Fit’ or ‘Not Fit’ but its terms of reference were set by the Baird Government to rubber stamp forced amalgamations and super-sized councils.
When IPART handed down its final report it found that of the 152 state-wide councils, 103 are ‘unfit’ to standalone. This is despite the fact that the vast majority were assessed as being financially ‘fit.’ 93% of Sydney’s councils were found to be financially robust.
No objective evidence to support the ‘bigger is better’ approach
- Has recommended that the Baird government commit to a policy of no forced amalgamations after finding the ‘Fit for the Future’ assessment process was flawed.
- Found that IPART should never have conducted assessments into the overall ‘fitness’ of local councils and recommended that the government reject IPART’s findings.
- Found no evidence to support the government’s agenda that council amalgamations will save residents money. In Victoria and Queensland forced council mergers have now pushed rates to up to 40% more than in NSW.
Independent legal advice obtained by the Greens has found that neither the Premier or the Minister for Local Government have secret powers to sack or suspend councils to force amalgamations.
This should give local communities and councils added strength to stand up to the bully-boy tactics of the Baird government and keep local councils local.
We can not afford to lose our local councils.
- Contact the Minister for Local Government Paul Toole’s office
(02) 8574 7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact each parties’ Local Government spokesperson and ask them to make a commitment to keep it local
- Write letters to
- Sign the petition
Stand up, make your voice heard and join your local community group to get active. If you don’t stand up to protect your local community – who will?
You might also be interested in:
- More than three quarters of Sydney councils reject mergers
- Could council mergers be the political sinkhole that swallows Baird Government?
- Local councils should not be fooled by Baird’s bluster and bullying
- Minister Toole Fit for the Future? Fail.