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Reform Required to Eliminate Pocket Boroughs

Release Date: 25/08/2015
The Sydney Business Chamber has again described council amalgamation as an essential step to reforming Sydney’s local government system, to reduce the chance of individual councillors controlling local agendas, through a system that permits election by a small number of voters.
The Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, Patricia Forsythe said, “The current structure of multiple small councils in Sydney has created a climate where self-interest wins through over community interest, on some councils.
“Small councils bring with them the capacity to become effectively a pocket borough of some councillors.
The Auburn Council issues of recent days, is a perfect example of why reform of local council boundaries is well overdue.
“The Chamber believes local government reform with fewer councils, and fewer councillors on each council, but who are each better remunerated and better trained to have oversight of multi-million dollar budgets and complicated infrastructure projects, is an essential next step for Sydney.
“Auburn Council has fewer than 86,000 residents and 10 Councillors. Amalgamation with Parramatta and Holroyd, would create a Council with a population of close to 400,000 and be in the position to manage large projects for the region and provide jobs and investment to local projects.
“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.
“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 the sub-regions that define the pattern of Sydney’s growth.
“The current system is not working and now is the time to make changes and keep up with the governance of other global cities,” said Mrs Forsythe.
Media contact: Patricia Forsythe 0418 165 466 or Kate Bryant 0424 186 367

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