Fresh documents reveal that since at least July 2015, the Baird Government knew which councils it wanted to amalgamate and then worked backwards, paying KPMG to retrospectively create and then “review” the alleged financial savings of council mergers.
A July 2015 “Options Analysis” report from KPMG shows that it was involved in the Coalition’s forced amalgamation process before IPART had even completed its Fit for the Future review.
The Baird Government has repeatedly claimed that KPMG’s role was independent, but it is now clear that, far from being independent, KPMG were marking their own homework.
Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“Far from KPMG providing an “independent” review of the government’s financial claims, it’s now clear that they were involved since at least July 2015.
“The Government had engaged KPMG, even before IPART had completed its report, to do a job on local councils and communities.
“This shows the entire process to be a farce, with the government having already decided which councils would merge and then working backwards to come up with some mythical savings to justify their decision.
“Even for the low standards of NSW politics, this stinks.
“We now know that there was no “independent” review of from KPMG, they came up with the alleged savings in the first place and then marked their own homework.
“Every step of this contorted and deceitful path was mapped out in the Premier’s Department. Mike Baird owns this debacle.
“This doesn’t just affect the councils that are in court, it could dismantle every single one of Baird’s forced amalgamations.
“This makes it clear why the government has been working so hard to hide these documents; they show that from day one the entire financial analysis was based on political objectives.
“Secrecy and deceit has been central to the Baird Government’s forced amalgamation agenda, and these documents show it for the sham that it really is.” Mr Shoebridge said.