Government must press pause on Fit for the Future

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Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Primrose is calling on the Liberal Government to delay its ‘Fit for the Future’ council reforms – as the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal final methodology released today is no clearer than before.

IPART has failed to provide any modelling justifying the key assumption that ‘bigger is better.’ Australian and international research makes it clear that this is simply not the case. The ‘scale and capacity’ measure that councils are being forced to meet is based on a false premise.

These issues will be examined in an Upper House inquiry due to start next month. The inquiry will hand down its finding on 17 August, almost two months after councils must enter their submissions to IPART.

“I am calling on the Government to suspend the ‘Fit for the Future’ process,” Mr Primrose said.

“IPART’s methodology is as clear as mud and the assertion that bigger is better must be properly examined.

“Given the Upper House inquiry is yet to start, the Government should hit the pause button on council amalgamations and work with the people of NSW.

“Instead the Government is rushing its council reforms, to the ultimate detriment of communities right across the state.

“The focus of local Government reform must be the delivery of better services but IPART’s methodology is clearly designed to simply make bigger councils.

“IPART and the Government are operating on the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s assumption that ‘bigger is better’, but there is a lot of evidence to refute that claim.

“After a series of consultations, it is clear that IPART either wasn’t listening or did not understand the concerns of the community.”