Fit for the Future - the verdict
Richmond Valley Council is one of just 32 non-metropolitan councils, and 52 out of 152 Statewide, to be declared Fit For Future.
IPART Chairman Dr Peter Boxall said 52 of the 139 proposals (received from 144 councils) were found to be ‘fit’ under the Fit for the Future criteria established by the Government last year. These included four merger proposals (covering nine councils) and 48 proposals from councils proposing to stand alone.
“All proposals to either stand-alone or merge were assessed according to whether they delivered the scale and capacity, financial sustainability, the ability to effectively manage infrastructure and services, and efficiency for the community as required under the criteria,” Dr Boxall said. “Of the 87 proposals found to be unfit, 60 (around 43% of all proposals received) did not have sufficient scale and capacity, 18 did not meet the financial criteria and nine did not meet either of these criteria. As we have said from the outset, our assessment of scale and capacity is about more than population and, in making these assessments, we have considered the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s preferred option and whether the proposal demonstrates the council can achieve the key elements of scale and capacity. Despite smaller populations, more regional councils were assessed as satisfying the scale and capacity criteria than metropolitan councils because the ILGRP’s preferred option for regional councils recognised the local circumstances and in many cases did not propose a merger.”
What’s new or changing?
- The NSW Government has released the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) Assessment of Council Fit for the Future Proposals report.
- There will be a final 30-day consultation opportunity to inform the Government’s position on local government reform and respond to the IPART findings.
- A Stronger Communities Fund has been announced for merging councils.
What this will mean for your Council
- Councils have until 18 November 2015 to provide feedback using the online portal on the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s website, which will be available shortly.
- For councils that are assessed as being not fit due to scale and capacity, or who neighbour a council that was not fit due to scale and capacity, the Government would also like to know, through the online portal, the merger preferences of these councils.
- Funding will be available for council mergers that are supported by merging partners and supported by the Government.
- The IPART report has found that nearly two-thirds of NSW councils are not fit for the future.
- The report found that savings of up to $2 billion could be achieved through council mergers.
Where to go for further information
The IPART report and a Report Card summary are available at the bottom of this page.
Information on the funding and next steps is available at www.fitforthefuture.nsw.gov.au.