July 5 - 11, 2015: Issue 221

 Pittwater Declares Autonomy: FFTF IPART Required Documents Lodged

 In a show of strength, unity and what truly makes a council fit for the future, Pittwater Councillors unanimously voted to put a submission to IPART that Pittwater will stand alone, “Fit For The Future”, with no boundary changes, NO merger and no alternative business case at Monday June 29th's Extraordinary Council Meeting.

“Fitness is about so much more than just financial strength. It is about successfully engaging the local voice and then listening to it. This happens easier with Pittwater because we are a smaller council,” Pittwater Forever spokesperson Ian Kennedy  explained. “Our mood is one of joy and celebration. By showing strength in unity we feel we have passed the first test put to us by the “Fit for the Future” process,” he added.

Pittwater Mayor, Jacqui Townsend said in her congratulatory speech she would actually like to thank the State Government as the process has ended up making the bond between council and community even stronger.

On Tuesday, June 30th, Local Government NSW President, Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM, asked residents of Sydney  to back up their local Council's;

"It’s really important that community voices are heard in this process. If people don’t come out in support of their council’s submission, the only submissions IPART receives are likely to be those from the lobby groups pushing for forced amalgamations." 

You can lodge a submission HERE, until July 31.

Announcements from Pittwater Council; Pittwater – strong, independent, local and fit!, Pittwater Forever(an umbrella organisation made up of 18 key Pittwater community groups); Champagne flows after Pittwater’s NO merger vote at an extraordinary GM, LGNSW; Government ignores community on Council mergersand the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART); All Requested NSW Councils Lodge Fit For The Future Proposals, run this Issue -  for the record.

 Pittwater – strong, independent, local and fit!

30 Jun 2015: Pittwater Council

There’s no doubt about it, Pittwater’s community remains firmly opposed to forced mergers and wants Pittwater Council to stay independent, strong and local. Council’s Fit for the Future submission due today will reflect exactly that.

Last night at Council’s extraordinary meeting, Pittwater Council unanimously reaffirmed that it wishes to maintain the status quo and remain as it is within existing boundaries.

Council will today lodge an Improvement Proposal Case (without a supplementary business case) to IPART.  This submission outlines a case for a strong, independent Pittwater.

Council commissioned an independent research company to conduct a random sample telephone survey with 89% of respondents supporting Pittwater standing alone.  The result of Council’s community engagement also demonstrated overwhelming support for the status quo.

When asked about their support for a single council, an overwhelming 80% were not supportive.

Pittwater Mayor Jacqui Townsend said Pittwater’s independence remains front and centre in the community and last night’s well attended Council meeting was yet another testament to that.

“This follows our well-attended public meeting last month with some 350 attending, and the 3500 surveys our residents completed as part of our Fit for the Future community engagement process”, says Cr Townsend.

“I’m not surprised that so many of our residents have voiced their opinions – Pittwater people are passionate and hold this place very close to their hearts.

“It’s been an intense few months of community consultation in Pittwater and I can honestly say I’m so impressed with the level of engagement from our community,” she added.

Mayor Townsend also said that at the meeting Council also reconfirmed its commitment to the concept of regional collaboration for efficiencies through the Shore Regional Organisation of Councils (SHOROC).

“Continuing to work with neighbouring councils under SHOROC will allows us to achieve regional outcomes around lobbying, planning and supporting efficiencies; this partnership also gives us the scale that the State Government is looking for,” she said

All Council submissions are due to IPART today. IPART will then provide its recommendations to NSW Government in October 2015.

For the latest updates and to stay informed please visit our website www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au/reform

Pittwater submitted to IPART today (30.6.2015). Our final submission will be available to view and comment on, on IPART’s website: www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Industries/Local_Govt/Fit_for_the_Future

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Champagne flows after Pittwater’s NO merger vote at an extraordinary GM

June 30, 2015: Pittwater Forever

In a show of strength, unity and what truly makes a council fit for the future, Pittwater Councillors last night unanimously voted to put a submission to IPART that Pittwater will stand alone, “Fit For The Future”, with no boundary changes, NO merger and no alternative business case.

While other councils are imploding under the State Government’s “Fit for the Future” processes, Pittwater Council has passed the first hurdle by showing strength, unity and the real mark of fitness – listening and responding to the majority voice, said Pittwater Forever spokesperson Ian Kennedy.

Pittwater Forever is an umbrella organisation made up of 18 key Pittwater community groups.

“Fitness is about so much more than just financial strength. It is about successfully engaging the local voice and then listening to it. This happens easier with Pittwater because we are a smaller council,” Mr Kennedy explained. “Our mood is one of joy and celebration. By showing strength in unity we feel we have passed the first test put to us by the “Fit for the Future” process,” he added.

Pittwater Mayor, Jacqui Townsend said in her congratulatory speech she would actually like to thank the State Government as the process has ended up making the bond between council and community even stronger.

This was followed by Councillors and community leaders one after the other standing up to thank each other, council workers and the Pittwater community for all their hard work and passion.

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Government ignores community on Council mergers

LNSW Media Release: June 30, 2015

Less than one in five Sydney residents support the merger of their Council as outlined in the State Government’s Fit for the Future reform package, new research has shown. 

Local Government NSW today released opinion polling carried out over the over the last 4 months which found only 18% of the community supported the Mega Councils proposed by the Baird Government.

The polling also found more than 60% of Sydneysiders preferred their Council to stand alone. 

Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades AFSM said the polling clearly demonstrated the strength of community opposition to the forced amalgamation of Councils. 

“The State Government has failed to convince residents that forced amalgamation is a good idea,” Clr Rhoades said. 

“The majority of residents feel that their local Council is doing a good job and they have concerns that the proposed Mega Councils will not have capacity to address local issues.

“Residents and ratepayers recognise their Councils are about far more than just rates, roads and rubbish collection – they are grassroots democracy at its most fundamental. 

“Local Government is the only way the majority of ordinary individuals can have a direct input into the future of their neighbourhoods and the way they live their lives – and they don’t want any sphere of Government riding roughshod over this right. 

“They don’t want to be forced to give way to big developers, or to see their lifestyles impacted by decisions into which they have no meaningful input. 

“The Government would be wise to heed this expression of public opinion, and to think twice before they force financially sustainable Councils to merge against community wishes.” 

Cr Rhoades said the polling was conducted by Micromex Research and Consulting and covered 14 diverse Local Government Areas with a combined population totalling around 1 million residents. 

Respondents were selected by random telephone interview and asked to rate their support on a range of options for their Local Council – from the no change/stand alone option through to the amalgamation proposed in the Baird Government’s Fit for the Future program.

For each option they were asked to indicate whether they were “very supportive”, “supportive”, “somewhat supportive”, “not supportive” or “not at all supportive”. 

Respondents were also asked to rank the options in order of preference, with 61% nominating the Stand Alone option as their first preference.

Cr Rhoades said the sample size of 7,416 respondents of the research was significantly larger than that used by pollsters conducting the research used for political opinion polls published regularly in the media. 

“These people are telling us they don’t want to be forced into Mega Councils with populations the size of Tasmania,” he said. 

“Why is the Government refusing to listen? 

“The Government has either misunderstood public opinion, been misled by vested interest groups such as the development lobby, or deliberately chosen to raise the spectre of forced amalgamations on strictly ideological grounds.” 

Cr Rhoades said LGNSW supported Local Government reform which genuinely benefited residents and ratepayers. Voluntary amalgamations, backed by community opinion and a solid business case, are strongly supported and should proceed. 

But he said the Association opposed forced amalgamations of financially sustainable Councils whose residents were opposed to any merger.

Local Government NSW the peak industry association that represents the interests of all 152 NSW general purpose councils. 

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All Requested NSW Councils Lodge Fit For The Future Proposals

Wednesday, 1 July 2015: IPART Media Release

All the state’s councils requested to submit proposals with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for assessment under the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future reforms have done so.

The process requires councils across NSW to demonstrate how they can become stronger and more effective, delivering services to the community in the most sustainable and efficient way into the future.

IPART has received proposals from 144 councils. The eight Far West councils were not required to submit proposals.

All proposals will be uploaded to IPART’s website. The Tribunal invites comments from ratepayers and other stakeholders for the next four weeks, until Friday, 31 July.

The proposals will be uploaded to IPART’s website  shortly. The Tribunal invites you to have your say on the council proposals until 31 July 2015. We prefer receiving comments online or alternatively via email or post to:

Local Government team IPART, PO BOX K35, Haymarket Post Shop NSW 1240

IPART will deliver its assessment of each proposal to the Minister for Local Government by 16 October, 2015.

Councils are Fit for the Future if they:

 have the scale and capacity to engage effectively across community, industry and government

 are financially sustainable

 effectively manage infrastructure and deliver services for communities

 are efficient.

IPART Chairman, Dr Peter Boxall, said the Tribunal would consider any relevant issues raised during the public submission period when making its decisions about each council’s status as ‘fit’ or ‘not fit’ according to the review criteria.

For this review the Tribunal comprises Dr Boxall as Chair, together with IPART’s part time Tribunal members, Catherine Jones and Ed Willett, and a temporary Tribunal member, Mr John Comrie, who has extensive experience in local government.

Dr Boxall said IPART had also ensured that sufficient, experienced officers are available to support the panel to complete its review within the required timeframe.

“IPART’s assessment methodology is publicly available and is the result of extensive consultation with local government and the community and our own expertise in this field,” he said.

 “We will be following a transparent process based on our published methodology as we assess each proposal against the Fit for the Future criteria.”

Dr Boxall said IPART’s experience, analytical capabilities and consultative processes meant the Tribunal was well placed to undertake the assessments of whether the councils are fit, not fit or deemed not fit.

A copy of the assessment methodology and information about IPART’s approach and timetable is available on IPART’s website <http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au>.

See also the Fit for the Future Fact Sheet. 

IPART has received proposals from 144 councils.  The eight Far West councils were not required to submit proposals.

Background

In April 2015 the NSW Government issued IPART with Terms of Reference to assess whether local councils in NSW are ‘Fit for the Future’, based on criteria adopted by the Government in September 2014. Throughout May 2015 we consulted widely on the methodology that we proposed to use in making our assessments against the criteria. Our final methodology paper, released on 5 June 2015, addressed the issues raised during this consultation.

In relation to local councils in NSW, IPART has ongoing functions, including:

 determining the rate peg, or the allowable annual increase in general income for councils

 reviewing and determining council applications for increases in general income above the rate peg, known as 'Special Variations'

 approving certain increases in council minimum rates, and

 reviewing certain council development contributions plans that propose contribution levels that exceed caps set by the NSW Government.

Additionally, IPART undertakes special reviews on behalf of the NSW Government in relation to local government, including our 2014 review of benchmark costs for local infrastructure contributions and our review of Local Government Compliance and Enforcement in 2012. IPART has recently commenced an aligned review of the reporting and compliance burdens on local government.

 Standing Room Only at Pittwater Council's Public Meeting Consultation

Pages run previously:

Pittwater - Amalgamation Proposal + NSW Government's White Paper +Proposed Local Government Reforms > Fit For the Future

Pittwater Council Community Forum on Amalgamation and Planning - May 2013

Pittwater - To Be Or Not To Be?

Hands Off Pittwater !! - Media Releases on the Dee Why Community Consultation on the Future Directions for Local Government proposals 

Transcription of Speakers at Independent Local Government Review - Dee Why, 4th of June, 2013

Front Page Issue 115 - Amalgamation and Transcription of Community Consultation by ILG

NSW Government's White Paper - Issue 116

Hon Rob Stokes Hosts Roundtable Discussion On Council Mergers from Hon. Rob Stokes and People for Pittwater

Pittwater Council submissions on the White Paper – A new planning system for NSW and the Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney and Future Directions for NSW Local Government – Twenty Essential Steps 

Presentation by Better Planning Network at Mona Vale Memorial Hall on the NSW Government's White Paper

Bigger is Better Theory on Council Amalgamations De-bunked by Mayors Townsend and Hay of Pittwater and Manly (New Report: AN ASSESSMENT OF SGS REPORT LOCAL GOVERNMENT STRUCTURAL CHANGE: OPTIONS ANALYSIS) - published 6 September 2013 - Professor Brian Dollery

ONE NORTHERN BEACHES COUNCIL OUT OF THE QUESTION: At its 13 October, 2014 meeting, Pittwater’s councillors reviewed the NSW Government’s local government reform package ‘Fit for the Future’ (FFTF), which was released in September 2014.  The proposal, reconfirming the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s recommendations that Pittwater be merged with Manly and Warringah to form one council, was rejected. 

Front Page Issue 185

One ‘mega council’ Would Be A Disaster for Pittwater - Pittwater residents are satisfied with Council - NSW government's Fit for the Future package includes amendments that make it harder for councils to prove they are financially viable, write Professor Brian Dollery and Joseph Drew - Front Page Issue 189

Artspot 2015 Opened with Aplomb

Pittwater Council to Purchase Avalon Beach Bowling & Recreation Club’s Green 3 - Keeping our Community’s Future 'Fitting' + Front Page Issue 211

Pittwater Uprising Again by ‘Pittwater Scout’ + Front Page Issue 212

Community News Issue 212  - May 2015: Local Government Reform - Have your say

NSW Government's "Fit For The Future" process erodes democracy and local lifestyle by 'Pittwater Scout'

Public Meeting on Proposed Local Government Reforms Indicates Forthcoming Backlash Against NSW State Government - Community Votes 'No' Amalgamation Again

SHOROC Shenanigans - Amalgamation Ploy to Undermine 'Scale and Capacity'? + Community News Issue 216

New Data Proves Overwhelming Support for Pittwater to Stay As We Are + Fit for the Future timeline makes mockery of fair process from Pittwater Council and LGNSW

Save Our Councils Coalition Launched – State MP’s Join their the Ranks Against Forced Amalgamations from SOCC 

Front Page Issue 218 

Community News Page Archives - June 2015