21 October 2015
The IPART ‘Fit for the Future’ report released yesterday determines that City of Sydney and Woollahra councils are unfit based purely on the arbitrary criterion imposed by the government on size. In fact the City of Sydney was the only council to get a ‘strong’ financial sustainability rating; it was identified as having low residential rates and proactively partnering with government infrastructure and urban renewal. Even though IPART deemed it big enough to standalone, it had to get the ‘unfit’ stamp highlighting how ridiculous – and politically motivated – this process is.
Councils have 30 days to respond and it is not clear what will happen next. The size criterion that IPART was forced to use to define ‘fitness’ is based on a ‘Global City Council’ that merges the City of Sydney, Woollahra, Botany, Waverley and Randwick councils and the Premier and minister have indicated support for this model. The future of local government is unclear.
The government wants centralised power within politically favourable boundaries – particularly in economically strong areas like the City – over community and business outcomes.
The Hon Mike Baird MP, NSW Premier
www.nsw.gov.au/your-government/contact-premier-new-south-wales; firstname.lastname@example.org; tel 9976 2773; facebook.com/mikebairdMP; or @mikebairdMP
The Hon Paul Toole MP, Minister for Local Government: email@example.com; tel 8574 7000; facebook.com/PaulTooleMP; @PaulTooleMP