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The Journey So Far

Building a shared vision for change

The journey towards stronger, more sustainable local government began in late 2011 when councils from throughout NSW came together for Destination 2036 to discuss their long-term future. The gathering considered how communities, economies and technologies might change over the next 25 years and how the local government sector might change to meet these challenges

Over the two-day event, local government representatives, the Office of Local Government and other State agencies worked together to produce a Vision for Local Government and an Action Plan to guide the process of change. This led to the appointment of the Independent Local Government Review Panel and a review of the Local Government Act.


Independent Local Government Review Panel

The Independent Local Government Review Panel was appointed in 2012, following a request from the local government sector. The Panel, led by Professor Graham Sansom, looked at options for local government structures, governance models and boundary changes. Over the review period, Panel members travelled throughout NSW consulting with councils and communities to develop and refine a range of options. The Panel also commissioned independent research to help inform its thinking.

The Panel completed its work in October 2013 and its final report and recommendations were exhibited for public comment in early 2014. The NSW Government delivered its response to the recommendations in September 2014.


Local Government Acts Taskforce

Following Destination 2036, the Minister for Local Government appointed a four-person Taskforce to review the Local Government Act 1993 and the City of Sydney Act 1988.

The Taskforce looked at ways to modernise the legislation, to ensure that it would meet the future needs of councils and communities. Taskforce members conducted workshops throughout NSW to discuss and refine the ideas presented in the paper and worked with the Independent Local Government Review Panel to ensure that the two review processes were suitably aligned.


The Taskforce completed its work in late 2013 and its final report and recommendations were exhibited for public comment in early 2014


The Government response – Fit for the Future

The NSW Government delivered its response to the recommendations of the Independent Panel and Acts Taskforce in September 2014, with the launch of the Fit for the Future package.

Since then, there has been significant progress in implementing the reforms, including:

  • Encouraging councils to review their performance and consider options for the future – 139 Fit for the Future proposals were assessed
  • Establishing five Joint Organisation pilot regions
  • Establishing the TCorp borrowing facility
  • Commencing a review of councils’ compliance and regulatory burden
  • Progressing the Far West Initiative


The next steps in the reform program include:

  • Creating new and stronger councils in Sydney and regional NSW
  • Commencing the first phase of modernising the Local Government Act
  • Supporting more councils to become Fit for the Future
  • Reviewing the rating system
  • Finalising the Joint Organisations model and supporting two new groups of councils to join the program
  • Providing more options for rural councils.


Read more about this reform package.

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