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amalgamation

Liverpool Council: hoping to continue being a stand alone council

The two big south west Sydney councils, Campbelltown and Liverpool, will tell the state government they want to continue as stand alone organisations.

With the amalgamation deadline fast approaching on June 30, Liverpool last week formally decided it will stand alone.

Campbelltown will make a final decision tonight as part of its annual extraordinary meeting on its budget, but it too is expected to send the same message to Macquarie Street.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (ILGRP) will review submissions presented by councils in regard to the Fit for the Future reform by October and the State Government will then decide if there will be any amalgamations between councils.

Fit for the Future (FFF) is a reform process which is aimed at ensuring NSW councils are financially sound, operating efficiently and in a strong position to guide growth and deliver quality services into the future.

However, one of the aims of FFF is to reduce the number of councils, especially in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Liverpool has decided to continue operating as a stand alone council after conducting community consultation throughout April and May.

Polling showed a clear majority opposed amalgamation.

The council polled 1,884 local residents, and the results showed that:

♦ 35.8% were aware of the NSW Government’s intention to implement amalgamations;

57.6% were unaware;

6.6% were unsure

♦ 53.3% either opposed or strongly opposed Liverpool being merged with other councils;

33.3% supported or strongly supported amalgamation; 13.3% were indifferent

♦ 30.2% of respondents would prefer Liverpool to merge with Camden;

22.1% with Fairfield;

22.4% with Camden and Fairfield;

25.3% no amalgamation at all

♦ 24.7% said that financial gains would be the greatest benefit;

15.5% the streamlined planning;

43.0% the increase in resources and services;

16.9% the increased delivery of housing planning

♦ An overwhelming 75.3% stated that loss of local focus was their major concern stemming from possible amalgamations;

8.9% chose the loss of historical identity;

7.5% disruptions from the merger;

8.4% leadership issues

♦ 47.2% rated Liverpool Council’s current performance as either good or very good;

36.3% as satisfactory;

16.4% as poor or very poor

In its final report, Revitalising Local Government, ILGRP recommended the following options for Liverpool City Council:

1. Amalgamate with Fairfield Council or

amalgamation

Fit for the future: Campbelltown City Council

2. Create a Joint Organisation with (and requiring agreement from) Fairfield, Bankstown, Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly Councils.

“The development of a joint organisation has merit and could result in significant community benefits and shared services, however it was difficult to secure agreement from all five proposed councils,’’ said a report to Liverpool Council last week.

Campbelltown City Council on the other hand has been identified as a council that stands alone and will submit an improvement proposal consistent with the Independent Review Panel recommendation.

Councillors, who over the past few months have made clear their distaste for any amalgamation talk, are expected to support this stand at tonight’s meeting.

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