Save Marrickville Council

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The State Government has plans to force amalgamations of Local Councils across NSW. The State Liberal Government wants larger Councils because they believe this will “cut red tape” for developers.  Forced amalgamations will lead to job losses, service cuts and increased costs for residents.

Make a submission on the proposed amalgamations to the boundary review here: https://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/issue/save-marrickville-council/councilboundaryreviewsubmission/

To view Marrickville Councils submission to the Boundary Review, visit http://yoursaymarrickville.com.au/last-chance-to-have-your-say-on-the-forced-amalgamation-of-marrickville-ashfield-and-leichhardt1

Plans for Marrickville Council

The State Government originally wanted Marrickville to amalgamate with Canada Bay, Ashfield, Burwood, Leichhardt and Strathfield to create a ‘Super Council’ of 342,000 residents – and a projected 2031 population of 432,400. However in October 2015 it revised its plans, and suggested a merger of three Councils for Marrickville.

The Greens think residents should decide what their local councils look like. The Greens call on Labor and Liberal Councillors to stand up to the Liberal Government and vote for no mergers without community support!

Fit for the Future?

The original Council merger plans are outlined in the Liberal State Government’s Fit for the Future blueprint for the future of local government, based on the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s (ILGRP) , released in 2014.

Local Councils were asked to submit a ‘Roadmap’ by 30 June 2015 proving that they are ‘fit’ to remain standalone. Detailed independent economic modelling commissioned by Marrickville Council found Council would be financially worse off it if it was merged. Rates are likely to become higher, services are likely to be cut and residents would lose their local representation.Read the Council’s early 2015 brochure to residents, which includes the pros and cons of the merged vs standalone Marrickville Council here – AmalgamationBrochureInteractive.

Marrickville Council resolved to stand alone in June 2015. 

In October 2015 the IPART assessment of Councils was released. The IPART Assessment of Councils found Marrickville Council to be a financially strong Council, but “unfit” because it too small. 71% of Sydney Councils – including City of Sydney – were found “unfit” because they are too small. Small Councils (the government claims) create too much “red tape” for government and developers.

The State Government had originally proposed that Marrickville Council merge with five other Councils to create a mega inner west Council with a population of 400,000. With none of the inner west Councils supporting this option, IPART has now suggested a merger of 3 or more Councils for Marrickville.

2015-11 Merged inner west Council image from website (3)

February 2016 – update

On 10 November 2015 the elected Marrickville Councillors voted on whether to submit a “voluntary” proposal to merge to the State Government. The ALP and Liberal Councillors on Leichhardt and Ashfield Councils adopted nearly identical resolutions that claim to resist amalgamations and to submit a “Plan B” merger options under protest – with a view to them only being implemented if the Baird Government forces the issue.

The Greens are calling on Labor and Liberal Councillors to stay strong against threats by the State Government. For more information see 12 November 2015 media release.

The formal statement from Marrickville Council outlining Council’s position can be found here: http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/council/newsandnotices/mediareleases/ashfield-leichhardt-and-marrickville-to-submit-joint-merger-preference/.

On the 2nd of February, the NSW Government is holding a public enquiry into the forced amalgamations at Ashfield Leagues Club. While it is now too late to register to speak, you can still make a submission on the the forced amalgamation here. The Greens are encouraging residents and organisations to make a submission, and in addition are urging the NSW Government to conduct plebiscites in the proposed amalgamation areas.

The Greens encourage residents to make their voices heard by:

  • Make a submission on the proposed council amalgamation- Submissions are being accepted here until 5pm, Sunday 28th February. Personalised written submissions are often very compelling and can be very useful to pressure the Government on important community concerns. Including specific information about what’s important to you about your particular local council will be persuasive. You can find a guide to writing these submissions here.
  • Emailing the Marrickville Councillors at councillors@marrickville.nsw.gov.au [email reaches all Councillors];
  • Signing and sharing the online petition on the website of Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong at http://www.jennyleong.org/marrickville_council;
  • Liking and following Save our Councils, the state-wide campaign against forced amalgamations; and

State wide campaign to Save Our Councils

A coalition of Councillors and community groups across NSW is forming to fight the forced mergers. More information on the Save our Councils Facebook page, and website.

Why do the Greens want Marrickville Council to stand alone?

1. Marrickville Council is a strong and effective Council:  Marrickville Council is a community focused, sustainable, innovative and much loved Council. It delivers a wide range of high quality and award-winning services, from garbage collection to child care and environmental sustainability programs. It spends the highest proportions of its income back directly on residents than any other NSW Council – and is one of the lowest spending Councils when it comes to elected Councillor benefits.
2. It will cost millions of dollars for Councils to merge, and afterwards Marrickville Council (and many other adjoining Councils like Leichhardt) will be financially worse off. The estimate is that the amalgamation of the six inner west councils would be in the vicinity of $80 million. The State Government is offering a combined incentive package of $16.5 million.
3. Further loss of community voice in planning decisions: The government’s goal is to cut red tape and faster development approvals for developers – ie less time for community input or objections to developers that affect them. The State Government think larger Councils will do this.
4. Job losses: A significant part of the Government’s  “cost cutting” proposed will be cutting jobs, and outsourcing or cutting services Council currently runs. Marrickville Council has high quality, in house services like garbage collection and childcare. Nationally and internationally there have been significant job losses where there have been Council mergers.
5. Residents don’t support the mergers: Council undertook an extensive consultation with residents, ratepayers and businesses in 2015. More than 3,500 people responded to the survey on the issue of local government amalgamations, the second largest response to any Marrickville Council survey. Close to 75% was Council to remain stand alone.
Results of 2015 survey of residents and ratepayers on the proposed merger of Marrickville Council

Results of 2015 survey of residents and ratepayers on the proposed merger of Marrickville Council

6. Marrickville will lose its local identity: Our area has a strong local identity as a diverse, inclusive area. Council plays an important role in ensuring services and needs of our diverse community are met and in bringing people together, for example by supporting a wide range of cultural festivals, ensuring childcare services are LGBTIQ friendly, and running a range of library and home services in languages other than english. It is hard to see that a proposed ‘super Council’ stretching from Newtown to Bankstown will continue to deliver the kind of specialised services much loved by residents.

7. Residents would lose their local voice with proportional representation lost as new mega Councils are dominated by the major parties. The proposed merger of Marrickville with five other inner west Councils would see something like 10 councillors representing a population almost the size of Tasmania (400,000).

 

More information

Marrickville Council’s website http://yoursaymarrickville.com.au/amalgamations-and-marrickville

The Greens Council Boundary Review website which includes detailed information on how to make a submission to the council boundary review http://www.councilamalgamationsnsw.org/ashfield-leichhardt-municipal-and-marrickville-councils/

No Forced Amalgamations website which includes a summary of the business modelling undertaken by each of the six inner-west Councils  https://noforcedmergers.wordpress.com/

Council Boundary Review Submission website https://www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au/

Fit for the Future http://www.fitforthefuture.nsw.gov.au/

The Independent Local Government Review Panel
http://www.localgovernmentreview.nsw.gov.au/

The Independent Local Government Review Panel Recommendations
http://www.fitforthefuture.nsw.gov.au/sites/fftf/files/NSW-Government-Response-Panel-and-Taskforce-recommendations.pdf

Office of Local Government
http://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/strengthening-local-government/local-government-reform/fit-for-the-future

 

2 comments

  • Save Our Councils is not just about Marrikville.
    All across the STATE councils are fighting for their residents who will be worse off if they amalgamate.
    The pressures being bought on them by this Government driven process are indeed bringing about a FORCED situation against the publics wishes and interests

    The government will be asking more and more of councils who while hey may never have borrowed before will be forced to to cope and for many of you you will begin to see the line to the “money tree/pot” that his government is so infamous for.
    Make no mistake your representation in a growing population will diminish and your rates and expenses will GO up.
    The FALSELY put economics of this is negative and will being social and welfare needs.

    PLEASE

    YOUR SUPPORT here is for all residents In the state
    Please come and join the fight for yor democratic rights
    “SAVE OUR COUNCILS” IS FOR ALL COUNCILS and residents
    Margaret Hogg
    Maroubra NSW 2035

    • Thanks Margaret, the Petersham-Newtown Greens agree and are actively supporting the state-wide ‘Save our Councils’ campaign to raise awareness of the impact of forced amalgamations on all Councils across NSW. The Save our Councils Facebook page has good updates – https://www.facebook.com/saveourcouncils – and we’ll continue to add updates on the wider campaign to this website when we can, along with local updates.

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