Local Government Amendment (Parliamentary Inquiry Recommendations) Bill 2016

The Christian Democratic Party is opposed to forced amalgamations.

On Thursday 12th May, the Rev. the Hon. Fred Nile introduced a Bill that seeks to amend current Local Government legislation and takes on board the recommendations and findings from the Inquiry into Local Government in New South Wales.

The Bill legislates against forced amalgamations and would require the NSW Government to:

  • Seek the opinion of every resident regarding any proposed amalgamation
  • Give greater independence to the Boundaries Commission with the appointment of 3 Commissioners (of which the Chairperson must be independent of the Commission).
  • Provide greater support to Local Councils including:
    • The extension of the Joint Organisation Pilot Program (which could have been rolled out before the commencement of the costly amalgamations program).
    • Providing the opportunity for Councils to collaborate in planning and service delivery through regional joint authorities.
  • Secure the financing of Local Councils including:
    • Retention of the finance raised through water utilities
    • a call for greater consistency in the treatment of council assets
    • An exemption from rate pegging, where communities should decide the level of services provided and the rate they are willing to pay for such services.

This Bill provides the NSW Government with the opportunity to incorporate the recommendations in the Inquiry following a large volume of correspondence from many individuals, community organisations, local councils and other key stakeholders.

In response to the concerns many individuals have in regards to forced council amalgamations, the Christian Democratic Party has listened to the people of New South Wales and presented Bill to the Legislative Council.