Ms Cheryl Thomas
NSW Council Boundary Review
GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001
SUBMISSION ON LEICHHARDT MUNICIPAL, MARRICKVILLE AND ASHFIELD COUNCILS MERGER PROPOSAL
I write to express my strong objection to the forced amalgamation of the three Inner West councils. I have addressed some of the key criteria below.
Financial advantages or disadvantages of the proposal to the residents and ratepayers:
Financial modelling commissioned by Leichhardt Council shows that a separate Leichhardt will perform better financially than a mega-council of Leichhardt, Ashfield and Marrickville.
Communities of interest and geographic cohesion in the existing areas and in any proposed new area:
Leichhardt Municipality is a clearly delineated and cohesive geographic area. Parramatta Road forms a long southern border with Marrickville. Likewise Hawthorne Canal forms the western border with Ashfield; and Johnson’s Creek the eastern border with the City of Sydney. The foreshore of Iron Cove, Sydney Harbour and Rozelle Bay forms the continuous northern border.
Existing historical and traditional values in the existing areas and the impact of change on them:
Leichhardt Council, as presently constituted, has been in existence for 67 years. The Council has ways of making decisions and campaigning for community objectives that involve residents. There has been the long experiment with its unique ‘Open Council’ - in which the individual citizen can make their views directly known to decision-makers - is supported as a key part of the political and cultural landscape.
Attitudes of the residents and ratepayers of the areas concerned:
I am strongly in favour of the retention of Leichhardt Council and oppose the proposal to force amalgamations.
Any effects the merge might have on elected representation:
The impact of amalgamation on local representation will be significant. At present each Leichhardt councillor represents less than 5,000 people. If the amalgamation proceeds each councillor in the new mega-council will represent more than 15,000 people. That will mean less access for residents and less advocacy from councillors. I fear this will lead to a new council waving through new overdevelopments.
Any impacts the merger proposal could have on the ability of the council to provide adequate, equitable and appropriate services and facilities:
An extract from a KPMG study published in December estimated that 96% of financial savings of merging Sydney’s Councils would come from reducing Council workforces. That means reduced services.
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Submission to Council Boundary Review - Leichhardt, Marrickville & Ashfield: make a submission by 28 Feb
Ms Cheryl Thomas