Community Care in a Reforming Local Government Content
Local government remains an entrenched institution, pre-dating Federation by some six decades. Historically, there has been no “one size fits all” when it comes to local government. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why State governments have struggled to keep local government focussed on “rates”, “roads” and “rubbish”, despite many local communities wanting “more”. Let’s not pretend that there are not issues of inefficiencies, ineffectiveness and sometimes corruption across Local Government organisations. There are. But let’s stop pretending that by creating bigger, but fewer local government organisations the issues of inefficiencies, ineffectiveness and corruption will go away.
Councils across NSW are considering their options after a government-commissioned report found nearly two thirds were “unfit”, marking them as possible candidates for forced mergers. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (Ipart) recently released a report that gave the thumbs-up to only 52 of 139 proposals submitted by 144 local councils, including four merger proposals covering nine current councils. Most councils that want to continue as stand-alone operators passed the financial criteria but fell down on scale or capacity, and the report found amalgamations could deliver $2bn in savings over the next 20 years.