People Power In Lake Macquarie Forces Baird Govt To Stop Council Merger Plans

People Power In Lake Macquarie Forces Baird Govt To Stop Council Merger Plans

New South Wales Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper

Lake MP Greg Piper Welcomes Amalgamation Verdict

Victor P Taffa

Independent Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper has welcomed the State Government’s decision to rule against a merger of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie city councils as a victory for common sense.

Under revised plans for regional council amalgamations announced by Premier Mike Baird today, Lake Macquarie’s boundaries will remain unchanged while Newcastle will merge with Port Stephens and Gosford with Wyong.

“I have consistently argued that Lake Macquarie, with 200,000 people, is big enough to stand alone and has a record of efficiency and sustainability to justify its continued independence.” Mr. Piper said.

 

“This decision is a great result for the people of Lake Macquarie and for the city. It will protect the identity of Lake Macquarie and ensure it remains a strong, viable community well-served by its local council.”

The outcome closely resembles a recommendation made by Mr. Piper to Local Government Minister Paul Toole about five weeks ago, just prior to the deadline for council submissions on IPART’s Fit for the Future recommendations.

IPART had proposed an amalgamation between Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, but Mr. Piper argued this would create a lopsided power balance in the region, with one mega-council of more than 350,000 residents surrounded by much smaller LGAs.

He argued instead for three similar-sized councils to be created through amalgamations between Newcastle and Port Stephens to the north, and Gosford and Wyong to the south, with Lake Macquarie’s southern boundary to be extended to encompass the entire lake catchment.

“I still believe there are benefits in bringing the towns on the southern tip of the lake into the Lake Macquarie LGA, but that is a discussion for another day.” Mr. Piper said.

“Today’s decision is one for which I am grateful and the community is delighted.”

 

Premier Baird only wants Council Mergers so buildings such as Ryde Civic Centre can be sold off

Premier Baird wants Council Mergers so buildings such as Ryde Civic Centre can be sold off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOUNDARIES COMMISSION

The Local Government Boundaries Commission is an independent statutory authority constituted under section 260 of the Local Government Act 1993.

The Commission examines and reports on any matter referred to it by the Minister for Local Government in relation to the boundaries of local government areas and the areas of operation of county councils.

The Commission is appointed by the Governor of New South Wales and has four members.

  • One (the Chairperson) is nominated by the Minister for Local Government;
  • One is an officer of the Office of Local Government nominated by the Chief Executive;
  • Two are persons appointed from the panel constituted under section 262(1) of the Local Government Act (the members of this panel are nominated by the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW).

 

IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal)

Premier Baird needs to review his Local Government Boundaries plan. In a submission to IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) Editor Victor P Taffa wrote for the need for Whole Suburbs to be in a Whole Council area rather than boundaries placed down the middle of a street.

Land and Property valuations are derived from that of a suburb.

When taking into account that Land and Property valuations determines a councils rates base and thus its income stream, it would seem far more beneficial to a council to have

 

WHOLE SUBURBS IN A WHOLE COUNCIL AREA

Premier Baird is shifting boundaries on an outdated model. Under Premier Baird’s plan suburbs boundaries will still be split between new council areas thus weakening a councils income stream.

Currently the suburbs of Epping and Croydon Park are split up into 3 different council areas.

  • Croydon Park is divided between Ashfield, Burwood and Canterbury councils
  • Epping is divided between Hornsby, Parramatta and Ryde councils

By lining council boundaries along suburb boundaries instead of the middle of roads such as Parramatta Road will provide councils with a stronger income stream thus making them

 

FIT FOR THE FUTURE

Even then lining up council boundaries along suburbs boundaries will also achieve Premier Baird’s goal of a reduced number of councils.

Editor Victor P Taffa’s plan will not see mass sackings of Council Managers and Staff.

The Boundaries Commission could also start drawing up new boundaries based on Editor Victor P Taffa’s plan from the Parramatta River that would result in the survival of Ryde and Hunters Hill councils.