Monday 3 April 2017
The government had to admit that forced council amalgamations may not deliver lower rates as it promised but could in fact result in much higher fees. While I do not support rate pegging, I supported its bill to require a merged council to use rate paths imposed by the previous council for three years to ensure Paddington, Woollahra and Edgecliff residents are not hit with a predicted 53 per cent rate rise if Woollahra Council is forced to merge with Randwick and Waverley. Forced mergers guarantee disruption and can mean larger bureaucracies and lose grassroots representation and local expertise.
With Ku-ring-gai Council winning a Court of Appeal case against being forced to amalgamate, the government should refocus local government reform on strengthening councils’ long term sustainability and financial viability to ensure they can deliver high quality services and programs into the future. My speech is HERE.