Friday, June 21, 2024

LGNSW: De-amalgamation funding decision “impossible” for councils

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) says the State Government’s decision not to fund council de-amalgamations will make it virtually impossible for those wishing to de-amalgamate.

LGNSW President, Darriea Turley said it was very disappointing that councils will carry the financial burden of “unravelling amalgamated councils which were forced on the community by the previous Coalition Government”.

“Our communities did not want these amalgamations which were foisted on them, yet now they are being expected to pay to return to the former status quo,” President Turley said.

“This is sleight of hand by the new State Government which knows that councils do not have the tens of millions of dollars required to de-amalgamate.

“It’s a cunning public relations exercise by the State Government so that it looks good in the eyes of ratepayers by agreeing to allow de-amalgamations, while at the same time knowing councils cannot foot the bill to carry them out.”

She said de-amalgamating the larger councils may cost as much as $150 million, “money which councils just do not have”.

The former government amalgamated 44 councils across the state in 2016, mostly against the wishes of the local communities, said President Turley.

“If councils choose to de-amalgamate, they will need to prepare a business case to be approved by the Minister for Local Government, and then hold a plebiscite of the local community,” she said.

“Only then will the de-amalgamations be able to take place.”

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