Local Government Review Panel
In March 2012 the Minister for Local Government announced the establishment of the Local Government Review Panel.
The panel will investigate and identify options for governance models, structural arrangements and boundary changes for NSW Local Government, taking into account:
- Community needs.
- Service and infrastructure issues.
- Financial viability.
- Representation questions.
- Barriers and incentives for change.
We support the need for the Panel, flowing from and accelerating parts of the Destination 2036 Action Plan.
We maintain close contact with Professor Sansom, Ms Munro and Mr Inglis to ensure our input at critical points of the Local Government Review Panel process during the life of the project.
Better, Stronger Local Government - The Case for Sustainable Change
The Panel consulted on its paper entitled Strengthening Your Community - NSW Independent Local Government Review Panel - Consultation Paper from July 2012. LGSA encouraged councils to get involved. LGSA made a submission (see below)
Subsequently the Panel released Better, Stronger Local Government - The Case for Sustainable Change in November 2012.
This Case for Sustainable Change paper sets out the Panel’s current thinking on some of the key aspects of Local Government – and its relationship to the State – that are most in need of fresh thinking and new ideas.
In terms of the evidence and expert advice collected and analysed, we think there is much to agree with in the following sections:
- The Local Government system and challenges faced;
- Fiscal responsibility and financial management;
- Services and infrastructure;
- Good governance; and
- Partnerships for change and improvement.
The section on structures and boundaries as it relates to the case for consolidation is drawing mixed responses.
Local Government NSW strongly encourage councils to respond to the survey that seeks feedback on the Case for Sustainable Change paper and encourage their communities to do the same.
Terms of Reference
Following the approach from the LGSA, the NSW Minister for Local Government has agreed to appoint a three member panel to develop options to improve the strength and effectiveness of Local Government in NSW. The review will drive key strategic directions identified in the Destination 2036 initiative and support the broader objectives of the State as outlined in NSW 2021: A Plan to Make NSW Number One (the State Plan).
The panel will investigate and identify options for governance models, structural arrangements and boundary changes for Local Government in NSW, taking into consideration:
- Ability to support the current and future needs of local communities.
- Ability to deliver services and infrastructure efficiently effectively and in a timely manner.
- The financial sustainability of each Local Government area.
- Ability for local representation and decision making.
- Barriers and incentives to encourage voluntary boundary changes. The panel will be comprised of three members, chaired by Professor Graham Sansom and is expected to report to the Minister by 12 to 14 months from the start of the review.
In conducting the review the panel will:
- Ensure recommendations meet the different nature and needs of regional, rural and metropolitan communities.
- Consult widely with the broader community and key stakeholders.
- Take into account the work completed, and future work to be completed, under the Destination 2036 initiative.
- Take into account the broader interests of the State including as outlined in the State Plan.
- Consider the experiences of other jurisdictions in both the nature and implementation of Local Government reform.
- Take into account the Liberal-National’s 2011 election policy of no forced amalgamations.