The City of Botany Bay is “Fit for the Future”

Published on 24 June 2015

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As Councillors are aware Council is required to respond to the Fit for the Future reform program by way of a formal submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) by 30 June 2015. IPART has been appointed as the expert panel by the NSW State Government to assess whether councils are 'fit' or 'unfit' in relation to the methodology developed and to provide recommendations to the Minister for Local Government by 16 October 2015.

Our response has consistently and appropriately been that the City of Botany Bay is sustainable. We have sufficient scale and capacity to meet the current and future expectations of our community. We can demonstrate our performance against all of the Fit for the Future financial benchmarks. We have an enviable reputation of capable political and managerial leadership, meeting the challenges of urban renewal and growth and delivering for our community. We enjoy strong community trust and satisfaction.

Councillors let me be clear. Tonight we will adopt a draft Council Improvement Proposal for submission to the IPART. I can advise Councillors that I will personally finalise this prior to the due date of 30 June.

Our submission will demonstrate that we are in fact fit for the future. Our submission will demonstrate that we already have sufficient scale and capacity and we can demonstrate a compelling case to continue as we are. 

Despite all the facts being on our side, our submission may not meet the arbitrary scale criteria the Government has set. But that matters little. The outcome of this process is actually meaningless. Councils that are declared “fit for the future” and which resolve to merge will only receive two benefits – funds to support the one-off costs of a merger and access to discounted borrowings. We do not want these benefits, nor do we need them. 

As you know there are certain people in Local Government running around saying that the State is holding “a gun to the head” of councils. There is a great deal of scare mongering about this process. But the documents and the process are clear – this is a process to support voluntary mergers only. 

Based on everything published by this government, it cannot be said that forced amalgamation will be a consequence if a council does not volunteer to merge…

…Of course, should the state government try to pull a fast one and suddenly change their tune regarding the consequences of this process, then they would stand condemned for their mendacity. Such an outcome would be a betrayal – but it would be a betrayal by the State Government. We will not be the betrayers of our community.

The City of Botany Bay is ‘fit’ to remain as a stand-alone council now and well into the future. We move forward confidently with this process.

I move this minute and our draft Council Improvement Proposal be adopted.