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Council Amalgamations the Only Way Forward

Release Date: 16/10/2015
The Sydney Business Chamber said today’s IPART report into local council financial viability will be a key step toward taking local government in NSW into the 21st Century.
The Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, Patricia Forsythe said, “The current structure of Sydney’s local government has acted as a barrier to strong strategic planning and to the competitiveness of Sydney as a global city.  
“Multiple councils along key transport lines have been a recipe for piecemeal planning decisions which have not given Sydney the optimum chance to manage its growth.
“Local councils will play a key role in managing the future growth of Sydney and will need to have the capacity to manage key infrastructure.
“The lead Parramatta has taken on research to support a light rail network has only been possible because of the resources a council with a strong CBD and large rate base can manage.
“Business needs to be able to work with local councils on shared agendas yet business which operates across multiple councils meets the challenge of varied local planning standards and mixed messages on project support.
“For business the goal is to see Sydney as a competitive global city.
“NSW is the economic powerhouse of the nation and creating the capacity for Sydney to manage its growth in a manner that creates a sustainable and liveable city requires local councils to have the capacity to manage Sydney’s growth.
“Multiple reviews of local government have recognised that Sydney with 41 local councils is in need of consolidation and should be better aligned with the Metropolitan Strategy that is designed to guide Sydney’s growth to beyond 2030.
“As recently as 2012, findings from TCORP showed that only one third of councils reported an operating surplus, which impacts on the capacity of councils to manage their infrastructure and services.
“The current system is not working and more of the same will not take us into the future, with Sydney’s forecast growth, change needs to happen now,” said Mrs Forsythe.
Media contact: Patricia Forsythe 0418 165 466 or Kate Bryant 0424 186 367

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