Submission to Council Boundary Review - Leichhardt, Marrickville & Ashfield: make a submission by 28 Feb

Ms Cheryl Thomas
NSW Council Boundary Review
GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001


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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Showing 104 reactions

  • David Dibden
    signed 2016-02-26 15:59:42 +1100
    I agree with Narelle Skinner concerning the KPMG report.
  • Nancy Hottinger
    signed 2016-02-26 15:55:03 +1100
  • Diana Jurukovski
    signed 2016-02-26 15:51:09 +1100
  • Sean Brokenshire
    signed 2016-02-26 15:45:04 +1100
  • Patrick Fennell
    signed 2016-02-26 15:42:37 +1100
  • Adrian Twigg
    signed 2016-02-26 15:32:44 +1100
    The merger is completely unjustifiable – by the state government’s own standards!

    Plus, you know, the people who it actually affects don’t want it.
  • Marion Tindall
    signed 2016-02-26 15:30:02 +1100
  • Kerry Hansen
    signed 2016-02-26 15:28:31 +1100
  • Wilson Sy
    signed 2016-02-26 15:25:46 +1100
    Big bureaucracy cannot serve local interests.
  • Narelle Skinner
    signed 2016-02-26 15:11:14 +1100
    If amalgamations are truly advantageous then Mike Baird must release the full KPMG report showing the justification.

    I suspect that cost cutting will just lead to reduced services followed by rate increases to return the service level to where it is now!
  • Paula Langlands
    signed 2016-02-26 15:08:32 +1100
    Also, as an older person and long time resident Leichhardt council suits me fine. I know the people i want to speak to when i need to speak to them, I don’t want to become an impersonal number on an impersonal list which will occur when one council is expected to cover three municipalities.
  • Merle Morcom
    signed 2016-02-26 15:07:30 +1100
  • Tim Rainey
    signed 2016-02-25 12:40:37 +1100

    Tim Rainey

    To: Council Boundary Review

    GPO Box 5341

    Sydney NSW 2001

    25 Feb 2016

    Re: Forced amalagamation of Sydney councils

    To whom it may concern

    I am writing to you because of my concern over the proposed amalgamation of a number of councils including Marrickville where I live.

    A number of points are of concern:

    1) an October 2013 ILGRPNSW Independent Local Government Review Panel report noted:

    (d) THAT based on the Morrison Low Report, an amalgamation of the above six Councils (Marrickville, Leichhardt etc) will result in residential ratepayers in the City of Canada Bay incurring a 12% increase in rates based on an ad valorem approach or a 10% increase in rates based on a base rate approach.

    (e) THAT based on the Morrison Low Report, an amalgamation of the above six Councils will result in non-residential ratepayers (e.g. businesses) in the City of Canada Bay incurring a 75% increase in rates based on an ad valorem approach or a 78% increase in rates based on a base rate approach.


    2) that local councils know better the needs of local residents and are best placed to tailor the services to meet the needs of diverse multicultural communities and residents

    3) that removing local councils is a step backwards for the democatic process in our communities

    4) that the said council mergers, in general, have the potential to adversely affect the community and residents.

    I would like you to strongly rethink the mass-councils amalgamation approach, and instead look to strengthening the current council structures and systems.

    Thank you for your consideration of my concerns.

    Yours sincerely

    Tim Rainey
  • Aurelio Spagnuolo
    signed 2016-02-25 11:37:38 +1100
    As an Australian Italian the connection Leichhardt Council has with the Italian community is unique and very important to me and many others. Italian is the second language most spoken in the home in Australia and to Italian Australians across Australia – Leichhardt holds an important place in their hearts as the place in NSW where early immigration of Italians was directed. There is a strong sense of identity and place that it creates for Italians not just for those of us living in the Leichhardt LGA but also the many Italians who come here because Leichhardt is still the home of all things Italian for many and the role of the Council in reinforcing and protecting that sense of place, acknowledgement of the culture and language is really important. There is the annual Festa which would not happen without the support of the council – it has been going for almost 30 years now, it is the fact that Leichhardt Council is twinned with an Italian town – Giovanozzo and this is important to the Italain community, it is the fact that it has numerous Italian organisations and institutions which all enjoy strong support from the council and that 3 of its 12 Councilors speak fluent Italian which is important – particularly for the older Italian community. If we lose Leichhardt Council we lose who we are as Italians living in NSW.
  • Margaret O'Toole
    signed via 2016-02-23 17:58:58 +1100
    Please let Councils stand alone and do not force amalgamations!
  • Irene Jordan
    signed 2016-02-23 15:12:52 +1100
  • Toby Thomas
    signed 2016-02-23 09:43:57 +1100
    We do not want amalgamations, which will reduce the individual input into local decisions. Leichhardt is financially viable and we will all suffer from having amalgamation with another Council.

    Please just leave us alone!
  • Paul Thomas
    signed 2016-02-22 20:31:36 +1100
    There is no evidence that amalgamations result in savings other than reducing the staff to population ratio. It means a reduction in services which we do not want. Currently we enjoy a good level of service with the current council and the proposals do not assure us that this will continue.
  • Sean Corrigan
    signed 2016-02-21 15:30:26 +1100
  • Christina Smith
    signed 2016-02-21 12:51:51 +1100
    I have lived in Balmain for past 40 years and have been very well serviced by the local Leichhardt Council. It is a Council which is efficient, stays on budget, responds to local issues and supports all members of the community. It seems very unwise to disrupt a financially viable, healthy and responsive Council with a larger entity when we know from other states examples that this has been both unproductive and expensive. You need to listen to your communities and for this reason I urge you to have a plebiscite so that you can accurately understand what is wanted. I can only assume that you are not interested in what communities want nor what is economically sensible as you have not seen fit to made public the KPMG report in full on this amalgamation. To get the low economies you highlight appears only through staff reductions which is unacceptable.

    Christina Smith
  • Elizabeth Horrobin
    signed 2016-02-21 11:45:13 +1100
    Our family has lived in Balmain for 48 years.

    As residents we have fought hard and long to preserve and restore its early Maritime History and enhance its cohesive neighbourhood spirit.

    Without the enormous support of our Open Council and easy access to our devoted, elected representatives we could not have saved our significant early colonial heritage from demolition, to make it an attractive, liveable, and unique part of our Harbour City that we all enjoy today.

    with Marrickville and Ashfield.

    Access to our council representatives would be severely limited (or near impossible)

    The development of the Bays Precinct will lift the population of this area significantly. I am angry and shocked that our voices could be so severely diluted in this exciting new development.

    Our Council is financially viable.

    Our Council already outsources much of its maintenance in conjunction with other councils.

    The KPMG report has been disputed by professionals for accuracy on its statistics.

    The Leichhardt Council has always listened to its constituents and given support when appropriate.

    That is what I call DEMOCRACY.

    Please let us continue to STAND ALONE!

    Yours sincerely,

    Elizabeth Horrobin
  • Anthony Simons
    signed 2016-02-21 07:42:02 +1100
    Mr Baird must release all KPMG documents (25). His dictatorial and secretive style is totally unacceptable. He is likely to follow Victoria’s Mr Baillieu into oblivions. Shame!
  • Sue Lindsay
    signed 2016-02-20 19:55:13 +1100
    I hope we can not be forced to submerge our local councils into a larger unwieldy council which would make us lose our individuality and cut each individual voter’s representation
  • John Bartholomew
    signed 2016-02-19 22:54:26 +1100
    I note that the “fit for the future” accounting exercise that all councils were forced to undergo, at their ratepayers’ expense, was revealed by the NSW government to have been nothing more than a time and money wasting sham.

    Those councils that passed the test are to be forced to amalgamate regardless. This displays the contempt for procedure and ratepayers that the dishonest NSW government is building a reputation for.

    As 96% of the alleged savings from amalgamation simply come from the pointless sacking of service providers, it is misleading to count these “savings” as beneficial in any sense. Sacked workers will become a cost to the Federal government, and someone will have to pay, probably more, to restore the services to their former users. This demonstrates that it is the NSW government that is not “fit for the future”, or indeed any position requiring an understanding of economics. Killing jobs is not any kind of saving.

    It has become clear that the NSW government has not been honest with the community regarding its “reasons” for forcibly amalgamating councils. The government’s strong preference for the interests of extremely large organisations, including criminal groups, over the public interest, has driven this process from day one. It is now the duty of the Premier to come clean and place his real motivation for restricting the ability of citizens to participate democratically in their local governance on the public record, with no further attempts at deception.

    If the NSW government wants to cut waste and mismanagement in public administration, it should lead by example. The sacking of all the incompetent, corrupt, and otherwise wasteful members of the NSW government would be a good first step, though it might take some time due to the high numbers involved. The beneficial effect on the State’s finances would be enormous and immediate.

    Once that has happened, then we can have a rational, public, conversation about local councils, but not before.
  • Laurent Wiseman
    signed 2016-02-19 18:15:59 +1100
  • Margaret Black
    posted about this on Facebook 2016-02-19 17:38:07 +1100
    Sign the petition: Submission to Council Boundary Review - Leichhardt, Marrickville & Ashfield
  • Margaret Black
    signed 2016-02-19 17:37:27 +1100
    Margaret Black

    We live in a diverse community. The more geographically spread out councils are makes it difficult to focus on the needs of a community. The current council sizes do well at addressing community needs and issues. Don’t make them bigger because this will lead to ineffective councils.

    Please don’t merge our councils.
  • Virginia McGill
    signed 2016-02-19 17:04:29 +1100
    I am opposed to the merger of Leichhardt Council with any other council. As a rate payer, I am happy the way things are and do not want to see reduced services and representation, which has been proven to happen. I also do not want developers to have any more access than they have already.
  • Maria Visconti-Sarv
    signed 2016-02-19 16:58:25 +1100
  • Sonia von Bornemann
    signed 2016-02-18 18:50:51 +1100