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Upper House Inquiry into ‘forced amalgamations’

Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Primrose at the end of May welcomed the announcement of an Upper House Inquiry into the NSW government’s ‘Fit for the Future’ program and what the opposition, including Greens and Independents, calls forced council amalgamations.

The inquiry will examine the criteria used by the government to assess amalgamation proposals, in particular the scale and capacity criteria – as well as the impact of proposed amalgamations on council finances, staff and communities.

“Numerous councils have raised their concerns about the timeline, criteria and methodology imposed by IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) and the Government,” Primrose said.

“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.

“Labor is determined to get to the bottom of what looks to be a process aimed at rushing through council amalgamations.”

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