D-Day Plus One for Local Government

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Baird’s Bully Boys IPART Farce

Submissions were due to close yesterday for the Baird State Government’s so-called ‘”Fit for the Future” of Local Government in NSW.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is so understaffed it will employ hired labour to review submissions to determine the fate of council areas they don’t live in and have little knowledge of, The Weekly Times learned this week.

IPART has until September to review submissions from around 41 Sydney councils at a rate of one submission in two days with each submission containing volumes of reports with critical information that ranges from parks to payrolls to sensitive information about residents.

There is also a possibility the sheer size and number of submissions could crash IPART’s data base and some critical information could be lost or may have to be re-submitted.

The Weekly Times has also learned that trade unions were involved in developing the IPART terms of reference alongside representatives from industry bodies, suspected of partiality to property developers.

This is despite the urging of Local Government NSW president Keith Rhoades who said he would rather have seen a panel comprised of a mix of government appointees and those from the local government sector.

The NSW Parliament Upper House will eventually consider IPART’s findings although the Baird Government has the option to bypass the democratic process through NSW Boundaries Commission.

As well as financial viability, IPART has been briefed to consider “the scale and capacity to engage effectively across community, industry and government” as well as how each council “effectively manages infrastructure and delivers services for communities”.

Under the government’s “Fit for the Future” program, many metropolitan councils have been set a “scale” target of about 250,000 residents, the size of a small city..

Hunters Hill, Ryde and Lane Cove will argue that their council’s should continue to survive but want to pursue a shared services model with two councillors from each council to be elected to a joint regional authority.

The City of Canada Bay has stated that it wants to stand alone but is willing to consider a controversial shared services model with Auburn.

Premier Mike Baird recently urged a gathering of the state’s councils to consider boundary changes, telling them that the status quo was “not sustainable”

An Independent Local Government Review Panel report commissioned by the state government said Sydney’s councils should be “significantly reduced” from 41 to 15.

Submissions for the Bully Boy Baird State Government Local Government so-called Fit for the Future were due to close yesterday for the States 152 Councils.

The submissions are then to be referred to IPART  (the supposedly Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) of employed bureaucrats of dubious expertise in Local Government affairs.

 

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Christian Democrats leader The Rev Fred Nile MLC is pictured at a recent protest outside NSW Parliament to save councils under threat from the Fit For The Future regime. TWT on-the-spot PHOTO.