Local Government Reform

Local Government Reform

Background to the NSW Government's 'Fit for the Future' program

In March 2012 the Minister for Local Government announced the establishment of an Independent Local Government Review Panel which was tasked with exploring options for governance models, structural arrangements and boundary changes for councils in NSW.

Over a two year period, the Panel produced three separate reports and held three rounds of consultations with councils across NSW. Subsequently, the NSW State Government, in 2014, released its ‘Fit for the Future’ reform program. This program intends to provide the mechanism for the long term financial viability and strategic influence of the local government sector.

At this time, Council resolved that it does not support any of the options for its amalgamation.

Now councils are facing the prospect of amalgamations as proposed in the ‘Fit for the Future’ program. A key component of this program is the criteria of ‘scale and capacity’. This suggests minimum population sizes that most Sydney councils would be unable to satisfy.

The NSW Government directed all councils to respond to the criteria outlined in the ‘Fit for the Future’ program. This response was required to be submitted by 30 June 2015. Those submissions have been assessed by IPART which provided a report back to the Local Government Minister with its findings on 16 October, 2015. 

On 20 October, 2015, the NSW State Government released IPART's assessments of Local Government Fit for the Future proposals. To read more about the Final Report assessing all council proposals, please visit the IPART website.

 

Current status 

On the 6th of January 2016, the Minister for Local Government referred 35 merger proposals to the Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government for examination and report under the Local Government Act. This included a proposed merger between Kogarah City Council and Hurstville City Council. An examination into this proposed merger is now under way. Read more if you wish to make a submission.

 

Kogarah City Council's submission

Council has worked tirelessly over the past few months to compile a range of comparative data that was required as part of our submission to IPART. Assessment of that data concluded that Kogarah City Council has the proven capacity to stand alone. The independent modelling demonstrated that, based on criteria relating to sustainability, infrastructure and service management, and efficiency, each of the amalgamation options would have a negative impact on residents, rate payers and the community of Kogarah.

To assist in formally assessing Council’s status against the ‘Fit for the Future’ criteria, an independent consultant, endorsed by the NSW Government, was engaged and some of their findings are presented in this brochure. This information provides context to various options for our City and outlines advantages and disadvantages for each of the options.

The information presented in this brochure in regards to Hurstville, Rockdale and Canterbury City Councils has been prepared on the basis of publicly available information. Information relating to Kogarah City Council includes the most up to date financial information. 

Kogarah City Council has, over the long term, consistently demonstrated its ability to deliver excellence in asset and financial management and sustainability. This approach to Council’s key functions has been entrenched throughout the organisation and is not merely a reaction to the current reform processes.

Council's submission to IPART also included your valuable input. The Fit for the Future Program provided Council with the opportunity to extensively engage with you, our community, to ensure you were given an opportunity to provide feedback on the future of the City of Kogarah.

The consultation process included:

  • Background information provided in the March 2015 edition of Council’s resident newsletter, Kogarahlife.
  • A 12 page information brochure titled, ‘The Future of the City of Kogarah’ distributed to all households in the Kogarah LGA. This information outlined a range of options for the community to consider and ways in which they could provide feedback to Council.
  • A telephone survey of 600 residents randomly selected and conducted by an independent consultant.
  • An online survey available on Council’s website with a hard copy of this survey distributed to all households in the information brochure, ‘The Future of the City of Kogarah’.
  • The establishment of a dedicated email address to receive responses.
  • Detailed information placed on Council’s website.
  • Consultation sessions conducted with Council’s Community Reference Group. 

Overwhelmingly, the community stated that the option presented for Kogarah to stand alone was the preferred option. 85% of those surveyed through Council’s telephone survey and 91% of those who responded to the survey online or through the information brochure responded in that manner.

 

More information