NSW Council Amalgamations: Botany Council to go – maybe Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra too – January 10th 2014

The Government released the final reports of the Independent Local Government Review Panel and the Local Government Acts Taskforce a few days ago.

The Government may or may not take up two options for south eastern Sydney. In either case Botany Council will be absorbed.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson says the Greens are not supporting either option. “The Greens totally oppose forced Council amalgamations<.”

Option 1.

The present Sydney Council borders are expanded to “enhance the potential for improved urban management (eg at Newtown, Paddington and south into Botany) and to include regional facilities such as Centennial Park.”

This basically means Botany Council will vanish. Randwick Council will lose Centennial Park but that would not make a great deal of difference as it is currently administered by a trust.

Option 2.

This will be the amalgamation of Randwick, Botany, Woollahra, Waverley and Sydney, which is just two short of the seven member super council that was rumored to be coming. But it will still be an area of 500,000 plus.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson said this week,

“Amalgamating with Sydney was always the Randwick Councillors worst case scenario, no offense to any serving Councillor on it. There is no valid financial reason why Randwick should be amalgamated as we have been proven to be financially sustainable.”

The Greens are concerned that a larger sized Council area will disenfranchise constituents from their elected representatives with fellow Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey saying,

“At the moment I am just about able to handle all the phone calls and emails I get from constituents, but that would become really difficult under a super council model. There are big questions as to how Councillors will be elected to these new bodies and the manner in which they will be allowed to represent their new expanded constituent bases. ”

The two Greens called for keeping proportional elections and the current councillor per constituent ratio in any amalgamated Council body. Councillor Matson said,

“Proportional elections for Councillors should be retained and the current Botany Council optional preferential or one-councillor-per-ward system should be avoided at all costs. We should also avoid reducing the net number of Councillors in the South East so that our constituents can still enjoy ready access to their elected representatives.”

BACKGROUND: A recent relevant media is available from NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge at http://nsw.greens.org.au/content/ofarrell-looking-break-election-promise-council-amalgamations.

 

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