Council Mergers - final judgement for Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby on hold
20 September 2016
The NSW Land and Environment Court today handed down judgement in North Sydney Council and Mosman Council’s challenge to the State Government’s merger proposal with Willoughby Council, finding there was a ‘defect’ in the Delegate’s report to the Boundary Commission and Minister for Local Government.
The court ruled that one of the specific complaints raised by the Councils in challenge of the amalgamation was valid, and that the delegate had failed, adequately, to have regard to one aspect of the elements mandated by s263 (3) of the Local Government Act 1993 as part of the inquiry and reporting on the proposed amalgamation.
Willoughby Council is waiting on further advice regarding implications of the finding. However, it is thought that sections of the merger proposal reports will need to be redone and resubmitted for consideration for merger.
“While we await clarification, Willoughby City Council will continue to represent the best interests of the Willoughby community. Council will continue to work hard to deliver and improve local services and provide a voice for our community,” said Willoughby Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney.
Mayor Gail said she was proud of Willoughby Council’s considerable achievements and focus over the past year to find smarter, more cost effective and efficient ways of working that have had a positive flow on to the community, including:
- $81 M in net savings off Council’s Long Term Financial Plan with $20M thanks to a revitalised organisational structure.
- A healthy operating surplus and a string financial position
- Key Community Projects achieved including the refurbishment of Willoughby Park Centre; purchase of the Artarmon Bowling Club for community recreation use; $9.5M funding received for the redevelopment of Gore Hill Park (Stage 1 works to commence February 2017); and upgrades completed for Willoughby Leisure Centre, eight parks and playgrounds and six sports grounds.
- Improved Asset Management with an additional 63 projects from the new Infrastructure Levy.
- Savings for ratepayers of up to $38 M over a 10 year period from a joint partnership with four neighbouring councils on a Regional Waste Alliance. This will also see 280,000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill and converted into compost and fuel, using new mechanical biological treatment (MBT) technology.
- New and improved internal systems for prioritising and managing major projects, resulting in more community projects being delivered on time, on budget, with a quality product.
- A soon to be implemented new centralised bookings system for many of Council’s community centres, markets and other facilities, making it easier for our community to find and use the Council provided resources that best suit their needs.
On 12 May 2016 the State Government announced the creation of 19 new councils across Sydney and NSW, following its Fit for the Future reforms of Local Government.
At the time, Willoughby Council was included in the councils announced to merge, but the merger was not progressed due to the pending legal processes by North Sydney and Mosman Councils.
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