Labor calls for inquiry into 'Fit for the Future' forced council amalgamations

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Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Primrose has today called for an investigation into the Baird Government’s highly criticised ‘Fit for the Future’ forced council amalgamation program. 

Mr Primrose is seeking a parliamentary committee to investigate the impact of amalgamations on council finances, employees and local communities.

The committee would also look into the appropriateness of the criteria used to assess proposed amalgamations, in particular the scale and capacity criterion.

“The Baird Government has repeatedly ignored legitimate concerns from councils about ‘Fit for the Future’,” Mr Primrose said.

“Mike Baird is hell bent on forcing councils to amalgamate, regardless of whether it’s the best option for communities across NSW.

“Numerous councils have raised their concerns about the timeline, criteria and methodology imposed by IPART and the Government.

“Councils will have less than a month to respond to IPART’s final methodology but there is still no information as to whether there is a population target for councils or what it is.

“IPART will have less than a day to assess each council’s submission. These submissions will be hundreds of pages long – impossible to review in just a day.

“Local councils provide essential services in every community and it is important that any changes are based on accurate, rather than faulty information.

“We need a Parliamentary Inquiry to properly investigate issues the Baird Government has chosen to ignore.

“It is disappointing the Premier has not been willing to work with the community, but Labor is determined to get to the bottom of what looks to be a process aimed at rushing through council amalgamations.”