Thursday, April 25, 2024

Inner West seeks feedback on cost of de-amalgamation

Sydney’s Inner West Council is asking the community for feedback on an independent de-amalgamation cost benefit report – five years after the area’s three councils were condensed into one Local Government Area.

At the Local Government elections on 4 December, Inner West citizens will be asked whether to support separating the one Inner West Council into the three original councils of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville.

The councils were amalgamated in 2016 by the NSW Government.

“To assist in informing the community Council commissioned an independent report from consultants Morrison Low about the cost and benefits of de-amalgamation,” Inner West Council said in a statement released today.

“Morrison Low is the same consultant who prepared the previous case for the former councils against amalgamations.”

It says some of the advantages of proceeding with the de-amalgamation could include:

• Significantly improving access by members of the community to elected councillors and their council;

• Gaining the ability to reset and start a new organisation from scratch;

• Increasing the ability to work at the grassroots level with community and representative groups and develop a stronger understanding of local issues and opportunities;

While it says some of the disadvantages of a de-amalgamation could include:

• One-off cost of $26.2 million for staff redundancies and council establishment, with ongoing costs and benefits of $22.1 million;

• The three councils will have a significant operating funding shortfall, which means that a rate increase will be needed details are in the report;

• Loss of efficiencies across services, policy and organisational operations and loss of ability to undertake large-scale and significant projects.

Council is also requesting feedback on the actual poll question:

“In May 2016, Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville councils were amalgamated into one local government area by the NSW Government. Do you support the Inner West local government area being de-amalgamated, so as to restore the former local government areas of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville?”

Residents can go to Your say Inner West to find out how to provide feedback on both the de-amalgamation proposal and the poll question. The last day to provide feedback is Wednesday 15 September 2021.

Recently, the NSW Parliament passed legislation that made it possible for Councils to put forward a business case for de-amalgamation. It remains at the discretion of the Local Government Minister whether to de-amalgamate councils.

Read the summary (PDF 154.8KB) of de amalgamation report or the full report (PDF 1.5MB).

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