The state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, says the Berejiklian Government has made the right decision in staying the course on the merging of Sydney councils.
“The NSW Business Chamber has consistently argued that the current financial and governance structures of local councils are failing to meet the needs of our growing community,” said NSW Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright.
“In our 2011 State pre-election campaign, 10 Big Ideas to Grow NSW, and our 2015 campaign, Unfinished Business, we identified local government reform as an urgent priority.
“At the time, we applauded Mike Baird’s decisiveness in finally pushing this issue forward, which had been hamstrung by councils’ unwillingness to face the critical need to modernise.
“While we accept the Government’s decision not to proceed with proposed mergers in regional NSW, this cannot be the end game for broader reform.
“It is in everyone’s interest to have local councils that are stronger, better resourced and more responsive to the needs of the community.
“Our 2016 Red Tape Survey identified local government as one of the most complex agencies for NSW businesses to deal with.
“The Government needs to push forward with other governance reforms such as reducing the number of councillors and introducing a model of popularly elected Mayors to improve the performance and accountability of councils across the State, ” Mr Cartwright said.