A disappointing day for NSW

The NSW Government’s decision today to scrap local government reform and abandon council mergers is a disappointing day for NSW.

“Eighteen months after a bold and forward-looking announcement from Premier Baird the wheels have fallen off – the Government has abandoned what it knows is the right thing to do in favour of the perceived short term political benefits,” Property Council NSW Executive Director Jane Fitzgerald said today.

“Reform has already created stronger, larger councils that are more financially sustainable, more professional and capable of better strategic thinking to meet the challenges of a growing population needing jobs, infrastructure and local services.

“And, more importantly, better outcomes are already being delivered – costs have being cut, services are better and more difficult challenges are being met.”

Ms Fitzgerald said the case for council amalgamations was as compelling today as it had always been. Amalgamations deliver:

• More strategic capacity to deal with the complex issues confronting local government today
• Greater financial strength, increased purchasing power and lower administrative costs
• Better customer service, quicker processing times and more effective infrastructure delivery
• Improved ability to negotiate with other tiers of government
• Enhanced knowledge among council staff and better able to recruit talented professionals
• Stronger local governance and better community engagement.

“Long term reform is never easy, it requires strong leadership, lateral thinking and grit – it seems we are seeing some reform fatigue from this government.

“Pandering to the vocal and politically self-interested minority will ultimately hurt the community and the State’s strong economic position and undermine the strong track record of reform this government has had.”