The NSW government may reconsider council amalgamations after new data reveals the majority of the state’s councils are suffering heavy financial burden and deficits.
An analysis presented to the Division of Local Government by New South Wales Treasury Corporation (TCorp) shows two-thirds of NSW Council’s are running combined deficits in excess of $400 million, The SMH reported.
Local government minister Paul Toole said the data suggests the financial position of the local government sector was deteriorating.
“The updated information sends a clear message that if local government is going to have a sustainable future, change is needed,” he said.
In January the Local Government Review Panel, established in 2012 and chaired by Professor Graham Sansom, released its final report on revitalising local government.
“The time has come for a fresh approach to break the current deadlock and enable proper consideration of necessary structural reform,” the report says.
The report suggested the following reforms:
- Focusing on the need for increased ‘strategic capacity’ as discussed in section 4.2.
- Firmly rejecting ‘one-size-fits-all’ policies.
- Introducing new types of local government bodies to facilitate a ‘mix-and-match’ approach to the particular needs and circumstances of different parts of NSW.
- Changing the process for initiating and considering amalgamations and boundary changes.
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