The NSW Government has now appointed the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to review Council proposals on "Fit for the Future".
The Government is seeking to overhaul local councils, but it is changing the rules less than two months before the deadline for us to submit a proposal.
Councils must now demonstrate to IPART that their proposal is "superior" to the amalgamation recommended in the 2013 Independent Local Government Review Panel (ILGRP) report - a different task to that which councils have spent months preparing.
The new process is not transparent, accountable or equitable because communities will not know how their local councils have been assessed and will have no right of reply.
IPART is the body that determines the maximum prices of water, electricity and transport services, as well as council rates. It does not have the expertise to judge the performance of local governments.
IPART intends to assess submissions from 152 councils within three months, a short and unrealistic timeframe given the issues involved. IPART may also choose to include a minimum geographic or population size which will lead to an arbitrary 'one size fits all' approach.
The current City of Sydney was created through a forced amalgamation in 2004 and our experience confirms that amalgamations are highly disruptive. Any forced amalgamation presents a serious risk to our capacity to deliver major projects and development currently in the pipeline.
By any reasonable measure the City of Sydney is "Fit for the Future", and our submission to IPART and the NSW Government will confirm this.
Read the City's submission to IPART in full by clicking here.