Tag Archives: local council

Crunch time – Help save Marrickville Council

On 10 November 2015 an Extraordinary Marrickville Council meeting will be held to determine whether Council should “volunteer” to amalgamate as part of a new mega inner-west Council.

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!

Make your voice heard and sign the Petition to Save Marrickville Council.

If you live in the Marrickville Local Government Area you can also email councillors@marrickville.nsw.gov.au to raise your concerns about amalgamation directly with all of your local Councillors.

What is proposed for Marrickville Council?

Despite community opposition, the Baird government continues to push ahead with its plans for forced amalgamations across NSW. The NSW Government has told Marrickville Council it should amalgamate into a mega inner west Council, because it has been assessed as “unfit” by IPART.

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)

Crunch time – 10 November 2015 Extraordinary Council meeting

On 10 November 2015 the elected Marrickville Councillors will debate whether to put a voluntary merger option to the NSW Government.

Despite the State Government not having the power to sack Councils, some Labor and Liberal Councillors have suggested that Marrickville Council must consider voluntarily merging. They have proposed a merger between Marrickville-Leichhardt-Ashfield or potentially other Councils. See the Labor and Liberal proposals contained in the 10 November 2015 Council papers here.

If Council “volunteers” to merge, more powers are triggered for the Minister to suspend Council if he wishes. A public process may be held to consult with residents –  but the Minister does not need to listen to residents if they reject the proposed merger option!

This could mean no elected Council to stand up on issues like WestConnex and an uncertain future for the services and support that Marrickville Council provides.

Elected Councillors need to stand up for the residents who voted for them. The Councillors of Marrickville were democratically elected to serve their constituents and the Greens believe all Councillors should stand up to empty State Government threats.

What’s wrong with amalgamations?

Local Democracy – The Greens believe the community should decide what their Councils should looks like. Nearly 75% of residents voted against merging when consulted about amalgamations in 2015. Residents have asked Council to remain independent.
The Greens believe any new proposal to change Council boundaries must first go to the community to receive their support. The Liberal Government has set a deadline of one month for new merger options – no community consultation is proposed.
Services – The people of Marrickville appreciate the services and advocacy delivered by Marrickville Council. Marrickville Council spends more of its income directly back on residents than any other Council in NSW.
There is no evidence that services improve when councils are amalgamated. In fact, specialised services that our community loves so much, such as Council run-childcare & community festivals, will be threatened.
More efficient? – Local Councils aren’t wealthy, but they are – actually – very efficient. They have to be. Over the last few years State and Federal Government have withdrawn more and more grant funding across the board, and asked Council to pick up the slack. This includes, for example, cutting Meals on Wheels funding, reduced funding to maintain roads, and charging new fees for the use of public school buildings for subsidised childcare.
Under the amalgamation plans most estimated savings are proposed by “efficiencies” that involve sacking or outsourcing staff, or reducing services to the lowest common denominator across the merged Councils.
Cost – The cost of amalgamations will be many millions of dollars, rates are likely to increase (as happened in Victoria, Queensland and Auckland) and individual ratepayers will inevitably get less access to their local Councillors if mega-councils are created.

Does Baird have the power to sack Councils

No. Legal advice has been released which clearly shows that the Liberals need new legislation to sack Councils. This is why they are pushing the “voluntary” option. Read detailed legal advice on the website of David Shoebridge MLC.

What is IPART and “Fit for the Future” anyway?

IPART is the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal. It sets special rates variations for councils
and is not independent of Government. The State Government asked IPART to assess all Councils as
to whether they were “fit for the future”, in terms of financial sustainability and size.

The Greens believe that the recent IPART report into local councils involved a flawed process that gave a rigged outcome. It recommended that of the 152 statewide councils, 103 councils merge, even though the vast majority were assessed as being financially ‘fit’. A NSW Parliamentary Inquiry has recommended that the government reject IPART’s findings.

Want to know more?

Save Marrickville Petition http://www.jennyleong.org/marrickville_council

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

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/

Save Marrickville Council campaign page with details of the community consultation undertaken to date https://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/issue/save-marrickville-council/

Save Our Councils statewide community campaign http://www.saveourcouncilsnsw.com/

Marrickville invited to appear at Local Government Inquiry

23 July 2015

Marrickville Council is one of only three Councils invited to appear at the Sydney hearing of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Local Government on Monday 27 July 2015, alongside Fairfeld and Mosman Councils. The hearing will take place from 9.00am to 5.30pm at NSW Parliament, with Marrickville Council due to appear at 2.15pm. See full hearing schedule HERE.

The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry was established by the upper house and includes Greens NSW Local Government spokesperson David Shoebridge MLC . It has broad terms of reference including to examine the financial stability of local councils, and the costs and benefits of amalgamations, including evidence from other jurisdictions.

Marrickville Greens Councillors have successfully moved motions through Marrickville Council for Council to make a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry, and to provide tools to residents to make their own submissions. The Greens oppose forced amalgamations and want to keep Local Government local. Key reasons why the Greens do not want Marrickville Council to merge can be found HERE.

The Greens are also supporting the community campaign. At this week’s Council meeting a further Greens motion was formally adopted for Council to support the Save Our Councils coalition, a multi-partisan coalition of Councillors, Mayors and local community groups from across NSW which is fighting for the right of communities to decide what happens to their Councils.

Read the submissions

You can read a copy of Marrickville Council’s submission to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Local Government HERE.

You can also read the very detailed Marrickville Council submission to IPART, outlining why it does not want to merge into the “super inner west Council” as proposed HERE. Applying IPART’s own (flawed) criteria residents and Council would be worse off under nearly all of the measures. Council’s IPART submission and the Marrickville Council No Forced Amalgamations page link to the detailed independent modelling commissioned by Council (the “Morrison Low” reports) which further details how Council would be worse off.

Public submissions

The Parliamentary Inquiry is due to report on 17 August 2015 – before the report from IPART with its assessment of whether individual local councils are “fit for the future” is made to the NSW Government. The IPART report won’t be released to the public, so Councils won’t be told whether or why they’re being recommended for merger.

It’s too late to make a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry but residents can send a submission to IPART until 31 July 2015. You can do this through the IPART website – an email or letter is all that’s needed.

Get involved in the community campaign!

 

Waste services to stay in Council control

Media Release 18 September 2013

On Tuesday night the Greens on Marrickville Council voted against a motion to outsource key parts of its waste services.

Outgoing Conservative Mayor Macri moved the recommendation to outsource with the strong support of Liberal Councillors.

The Greens voted with the Labor Councillors to defend the Council’s garbage workers against the outsourcing proposal.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said, “The Greens strongly support keeping council services in-house and in public hands.

“It’s crucial that Council maintains direct control of these essential services, and that the workers that provide those services are afforded decent pay and working conditions.

“The Greens have a strong record of opposing the outsourcing of council services, and were proud to bring apprenticeships back in house under a Greens Mayor in the last term of council,” she said.

The outsourcing recommendation followed a long period of negotiation with the United Services Union to deal with issues such as the high rate of injuries to garbage workers and integration of the management of garbage services with councils other employment processes. The USU presented a petition to the Council meeting signed by local residents opposed to outsourcing.

Clr Ellsmore said, “Outsourcing attempts to cut costs by reducing conditions for workers. It also shifts control of essential services to a private body interested in profit, and not the quality of services to residents.

“Across the State we are seeing Liberal dominated Councils slashing and outsourcing essential services like garbage and childcare.

“As a Green, a unionist and a local resident I was proud to stand in solidarity with our Council workers on Tuesday night against outsourcing,” she said.

Media Contact: Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

For more information about the Greens campaigns against insecure and temporary work, see the website of Federal MP Adam Bandt http://adam-bandt.greensmps.org.au/worklifebalance and State MP David Shoebridge http://davidshoebridge.org.au/industrial-relations/

Greens Councillors Melissa Brooks and Sylvie Ellsmore signed pledge in support of the campaign to keep the local in local government, August 2012

Greens Councillors Melissa Brooks and Sylvie Ellsmore (r) signed pledge in support of the campaign to oppose outsourcing, August 2012