Property Council urges Premier to finish local government reform

The Property Council of Australia today urged NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to hold the line on council amalgamations in NSW against the forces of political self-interest to deliver a stronger, more sustainable local government sector to communities right across the state.

The Property Council NSW Executive Director, Jane Fitzgerald, said today that the Property Council has been a long term, strong supporter of the local government reform agenda because it will provide better outcomes for local communities, transparency for business and industry and a stronger future for NSW.

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

“Better outcomes are already being delivered – costs are being cut, services are better and challenges are being met – to undo this now is to fly in the face of common sense.”

Ms Fitzgerald said the case for council amalgamations was compelling. Experience elsewhere shows amalgamations can 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
  • Stronger 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

“Now is not the time to step back from this important reform agenda because of the risk of short term political pain. There is no doubt that to stop now, or worse still, unravel what has been done will leave local communities, businesses and industry worse off,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“As Transport Minister and Treasurer, Premier Berejiklian showed she’s not afraid of tackling a difficult challenge and we would urge her to stare down the self-interested and short sighted and finish this job too.”

“We would urge the Berejiklian Government to stand strong on these reforms and finish what has been started, otherwise it is a slippery slope to further concessions and greater uncertainty for the community, business and industry.”

Media contact: William Power| M 0429 210 982 | E wpower@propertycouncil.com.au