MAKE A SUBMISSION TO THE COUNCIL BOUNDARY REVIEW HERE!

FINAL DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS 28TH FEBRUARY

You are encouraged to support your local council and make a submission on the proposed amalgamation of Marrickville, Leichhardt and Ashfield Councils.

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.

Below, you will find a sample submission that we will send on your behalf if you fill in your details at the end of the page.

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

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Ms Cheryl Thomas
Delegate
NSW Council Boundary Review
GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001

SUBMISSION ON LEICHHARDT MUNICIPAL, MARRICKVILLE AND ASHFIELD COUNCILS MERGER PROPOSAL

I write to express my strong objection to the forced amalgamation of the three Inner West councils. I have addressed some of the key criteria below.

Communities of interest and geographic cohesion in the existing areas and in any proposed new area:
The Marrickville Local Government Area is a clearly delineated and cohesive geographic area. It is made up of communities where there is a strong spirit of cooperation, trust and pride. Social justice and the need to address social inequalities are central to the make up of the these communities. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) communities say that in areas such as Newtown and Enmore they feel really comfortable being out. In these areas same-sex couples walking hand in hand down the street is more the ‘norm’ than an unusual occurrence.

Marrickville Council is famous for its award winning community festivals such as Newtown Festival, Marrickville Festival and Bairro Portuguêse Petersham Food & Wine Fair, which have fostered a distinct sense of communities identifying with the LGA.  Marrickville has one of the highest rates of cultural organisations and artists anywhere in Australia, which makes it unique from other council areas.

Any impacts the merger proposal could have on the ability of the council to provide adequate, equitable and appropriate services and facilities:
An extract from a KPMG study published in December estimated that 96% of financial savings of merging Sydney’s Councils would come from reducing Council workforces. That means reduced services.  Marrickville is the second largest employer in the LGA, with nearly 500 staff positions. It includes award winning in house childcare services and waste disposal services. A majority of Council staff are women. Experience in other states has shown mergers mean significant job cuts – including front line services.

Existing historical and traditional values in the existing areas and the impact of change on them:

Marrickville Council, as presently constituted, has been in existence for 67 years. The Council has ways of making decisions and campaigning for community objectives that involve residents.

Marrickville has a long history of being an innovative and progressive council that meets the unique needs of its inner city residents.  The iconic Magic Yellow Bus mobile playgroup recently celebrated 40 years, the Green Living Centre has provided sustainable urban living workshops to thousands of residents.  These services meet the specific needs of our densely populated, progressive, urban community.

Attitudes of the residents and ratepayers of the areas concerned:
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.

Any effects the merge might have on elected representation:
The impact of amalgamation on local representation will be significant. At present each Marrickville councillor represents less than 7,000 people. If the amalgamation proceeds each councillor in the new mega-council will represent more than 15,000 people. That will mean less access for residents and less advocacy from councillors. Marrickville Council area is home to a very active  community – one of the reasons it is distinct from neighbouring areas.  The high level of engagement from the community places significant pressure on Councillors to be responsive to diverse and active communities within each ward.  There are numerous discrete communities with discrete needs within the LGA.

Marrickville is known as a Council with a record of strong public advocacy. This can be most recently seen in relation to major State Government projects like WestConnex, and proposed urban growth corridors such as the re-development of Parramatta Rd and the Sydenham to Bankstown train line. Residents have lobbied Council to be a strong advocate on their behalf in relation to this massive projects. The merger proposes 9-12 month period of transition to new Councils with no Councillors to advocate for residents.

Financial advantages or disadvantages of the proposal to the residents and ratepayers of the areas concerned:
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.  Marrickville Council is one of the lowest spending Councils when it comes to elected Councillor benefits.

[please add further comments below to personalise your submission]

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