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Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about the Fit For the Future reform program? Click below for some answers.

On 12 May 2016 the NSW Premier Mike Baird and the Minister for Local Government Paul Toole announced the creation of 19 new councils in NSW. The Minister has indicated his in-principle support to create a further 9 new councils, subject to the decisions of the courts.

Stronger more efficient councils will work harder for residents and deliver better services and infrastructure like roads, parks, playgrounds and sporting facilities.

Other new council benefits include:

  • Each new council will receive up to $15 million to invest in community projects like junior sporting facilities, playgrounds and library or pool upgrades
  • Each new council will receive up to $10 million to streamline administrative processes and cut red tape. (Unspent funds may be redirected to community projects)
  • Ratepayers in new council areas will have their rates protected against future increases, meaning they will pay no more for their rates than they would have under their old council for four years

Elections for new councils will take place on 9 September 2017.

 

For more information, please visit www.strongercouncils.nsw.gov.au

The NSW Government has taken action to ensure councils can continue to deliver the services and infrastructure communities need now and in generations to come.

The decision to create new councils follows four years of extensive consultation with communities and councils as well as independent research and analysis which found a compelling case for reform.

Nineteen new councils have commenced. The Minister has indicated his in-principle support to create a further nine new councils, however the decisions will be subject to decisions of the courts.

An independent administrator appointed by the Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole, with support from an Interim General Manager, will lead the Council until elections are held for mayors and councillors on 9 September 2017.

Administrators have the same roles as the former Mayors and Councillors. They will also have a vital role to play in making the merger happen.

Each of the administrators appointed had a strong understanding or background working in the local government sector.

There are many benefits for ratepayers and the broader community including:

  • Savings of up to $2 billion
  • Enhanced service delivery and infrastructure
  • Fairer representation through more evenly distributed councillor/population ratios
  • Each new council will receive up to $15 million to invest in community projects like junior sporting facilities, playgrounds and library or pool upgrades
  • Each new council will receive up to $10 million to streamline administrative processes and cut red tape. (Unspent funds may be redirected to community projects)
  • Ratepayers, in new council areas, will have their rates protected against future increases, meaning they will pay no more for their rates than they would have under their old council for four years

There are many benefits for ratepayers and the broader community including:

  • Savings of up to $2 billion
  • Enhanced service delivery and infrastructure
  • Fairer representation through more evenly distributed councillor/population ratios
  • Each new council will receive up to $15 million to invest in community projects like junior sporting facilities, playgrounds and library or pool upgrades
  • Each new council will receive up to $10 million to streamline administrative processes and cut red tape. (Unspent funds may be redirected to community projects)
  • Ratepayers, in new council areas, will have their rates protected against future increases, meaning they will pay no more for their rates than they would have under their old council for four years

The same way you did so under the previous council. Future rate notices will inform local residents of any potential changes.

The NSW Government’s rate protection commitment means residents of the new council will pay no more for their rates than they would have under their old council for the next four years.

It will be business as usual for residents. The delivery of key services, such as rubbish collection or meals on wheels, will continue in the same way.

 It will be business as usual for residents.

 

Council facilities will continue to operate just as they have in the past; for example, the library and pool will maintain their regular opening hours and community halls can still be booked as usual.

All council staff other than executive level will retain their jobs and carry out their day-to-day roles.

 

Their jobs will be protected for a period of three years.  In towns with fewer than 5000 people, the entire council workforce will be retained.

Administrators and interim general managers have been appointed to each new council to oversee council until new elections are held.

 

Former mayors and councillors may be given the opportunity to help shape the future of the new council by serving on councillors committees.

Administrators and interim general managers have been appointed to each new council to oversee council until new elections are held.

 

Former mayors and councillors may be given the opportunity to help shape the future of the new council by serving on councillors committees.

Elections for all new councils will be held on 9 September 2017.

New councils have been named based on input from the local community via written submissions or hearings and the public inquiry.

The Stronger Communities Fund has been established by the NSW Government to enable new councils to kick-start the delivery of priority infrastructure and services projects of the local community.

 •$10 million is provided to a new council formed as a result of two councils, or parts of two councils, merging.

 •$15 million is provided to a new council formed as a result of three or more councils, or parts of three or more councils, merging.

 •Councils can increase funds available through the Stronger Communities Fund by investing any surplus funds from the separate New Council Implementation Fund

 

The New Council Implementation Fund of $5 million to $10 million is being provided to new councils to cover merger costs.

The NSW Government is transforming the system of local government to ensure that councils are Fit for the Future and ready to deliver the quality services and infrastructure that communities deserve.

These reforms are the result of four years of consultation. They will create new, stronger councils, improve council performance and strengthen the system of local government.

The Government has announced record funding to help councils make the changes they need to improve their capacity to deliver quality services.

 

 

 

The Minister for Local Government determined which councils should merge.  The decision to create new councils follows four years of extensive consultation with communities and councils as well as independent research and analysis.

Councils who did not perform well in the financial, asset management or efficiency measures will have an opportunity to revise their Fit for the Future proposals and resubmit them for assessment. Find out more about the reassessment.

10. How has the community been involved?

The Government has been consulting with councils and the community on local government reform for the past four years. Councils were asked to consult their communities during the Fit for the Future process and IPART invited public submissions on council proposals. Community members also had a further opportunity to comment on the merger proposals during the merger proposal process.  

The NSW Government is transforming the system of local government to ensure that councils are Fit for the Future and ready to deliver the quality services and infrastructure that communities deserve.

These reforms are the result of four years of consultation. They will create new, stronger councils, improve council performance and strengthen the system of local government.

The Government has announced record funding to help councils make the changes they need to become Fit for the Future and improve their capacity to deliver quality services.

 

The Government has commissioned IPART to undertake the review of compliance burden on local government and the review of the rating system. The review of the Financial Assistance is also progressing.

 

Councils and the community have had, or will have, the opportunity to contribute to all of these reviews.

The NSW Government’s rate protection commitment means residents of the new council will pay no more for their rates than they would have under their old council for the next four years.

 

Other councils may continue to make SRV applications as usual and should follow the current guidelines.

The amount each council saves from using the TCorp borrowing facility will be dependent on how much it currently borrows and at what rate.

Up to $600 million in potential savings have been identified. This is based on the current council borrowing of $3 billion being undertaken through TCorp at a cheaper rate over 10 years.

If councils increase their borrowing to address the infrastructure backlog, this figure may be higher.

The Government has announced record funding to help councils make the changes they need to improve their capacity to deliver quality services.

 

The identity of most small communities is defined by things such as its people, the natural environment, the built environment, the predominant industry, local landmarks and tourist attractions. Communities are not defined by lines on a map or a council administration. Stronger councils will be better positioned to support small communities and assist them to prosper.

Stronger councils will be in the best possible position to plan with their communities and deliver the facilities and services that meet local needs. The NSW Government is providing up to $15 million through the Stronger Communities Fund to give merging councils a head start with community infrastructure projects. 

The Government believes that rate-pegging offers important protections for communities and this system will not change.

Changing the administrative structures of councils has no impact on property prices. These reforms will improve access to services, transport and infrastructure, but will not change where people live. The reforms are about improving the quality of life, and for State and local government to work more effectively together to deal with the big issues which maintain and improve Sydney’s livability.

Regional communities play a vital role in supporting the State’s economy, providing the food for growing communities and sustaining our major

export industries. The NSW Government has a plan to revitalise regional NSW and provide the infrastructure, jobs and services country communities need and deserve.

The NSW Government will provide more than $5 million in seed funding to establish new regional Joint Organisations that will connect local councils and provide a forum for working with State agencies

The Government is also providing significant support for new councils in regional NSW.

Councils deemed Fit for the Future will have access to cheaper finance to build and maintain the facilities their communities need, such as better roads and bridges and regional facilities.

The Government has also established a $4 million innovation fund to help small rural councils explore new ways of working.

Joint Organisations (JOs) provide an opportunity for councils to play a more active role in the future of their region.

Many of the issues facing regional communities require solutions that extend across council boundaries. JOs will provide a forum for local councils and State agencies to work together to deliver jobs, education, housing, roads and transport.

The NSW Government will be establishing JOs across regional NSW from September 2016. Five groups of councils are taking part in a pilot scheme to develop the new JO model.

Five Pilot JOs were selected: Central NSW, Hunter, Illawarra, Namoi and Riverina.

The JO model will be finalised in 2016. Following this, there will be a process of amending legislation to support the new model before the implementation phase can begin.

In 2015 councils responded to an Emerging Directions Paper on the JO model and provided valuable feedback on key issues. There will be a second opportunity for consultation in 2016 when the final discussion paper is released.

The first round of applications for the Innovation Fund closed in April 2016 and grants will be awarded in June 2016. A second round of applications will be called for later in 2016. 

In 2015 councils responded to an Emerging Directions Paper on the JO model and provided valuable feedback on key issues. There will be a second opportunity for consultation in 2016 when the final discussion paper is released.

Councils that have been deemed Fit for the Future will have access cheaper finance for community infrastructure, saving up to $600 million.

The Government has also established the Stronger Communities Fund to give new councils a head start on providing community infrastructure.

Each proposal is the result of careful consideration of all the evidence, including four years of consultation with every council in NSW, independent assessments, merger preferences submitted by councils, and feedback from communities and stakeholders. The Government has

Proposals have been developed based on:

  • Joining communities with common characteristics and connections
  • No ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution
  • Achieving as much consensus as possible
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