Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Sydney Councils should hold referendums on amalgamations. Let the people decide.

Last night in parliament I called on Sydney councils to hold referendums on the proposed amalgamations to create “Super Councils” in the Sydney region.

The video of my speech is here:

Professor Graham Sansom and an Independent Local Government Review Panel have presented a report that recommends reducing the number of councils in Sydney from 32 to 15.

If the Government accept the recommendations the councils of Botany Bay, Randwick, Waverley, Woollahra, City of Sydney, Leichardt, Marrickville, Hurstville, Kogarah, Rockdale, Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Mosman, North Sydney, Willoughby, Ashfield, Burwood, Canada Bay, Strathfield, Auburn, Holroyd, Parramatta, Ryde, Fairfield, Liverpool, Manly, Pittwater and Warringah will disappear.
The report fails to understand local government is all about governing local communities.

It is important that the people understand how the Super Councils would be funded.

The report recommends outrageously, that revenue can be increased by abolishing the pensioner rate rebate, hiking up residential rates, and selling off local parks, playgrounds and community halls. Fees and charges for community facilities such as council swimming pools would also see hefty increases.

The report bizarrely contradicts itself. It recommends reducing the number of councils and then states it will create a fourth level of governance by setting up local boards to oversee the operation of the local communities.

I am confident that the people of Sydney will want to have their say before this most fundamental tier of government is dismantled forever by the Liberal O’Farrell government.

The Local Government Act provides for people to have their say by allowing referendums. In a democracy people should decide if they want their local council demolished.

It is the people who should decide how they are governed. I urge all councils to hold a referendum … let the people decide.

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