I joined the Mayors of Waverley, Woollahra, Randwick, Botany and Leichhardt councils to meet with the member of the Independent Local Government Review Panel and make a joint submission.
The Local Government Review Panel, known as the Samson Review, proposes merging our councils into a "super Sydney council area", but provides no evidence that this would benefit the community.
At our meeting the Panel's chairperson Professor Graham Sansom at a recent meeting where he admitted the Panel had not done any cost-benefit analysis of the proposed mergers.
Together with the other Mayors, I called for sensible, practical reform to local government in NSW, not simply mergers for the sake of mergers.
Local government best serves its communities when it is truly "local" in character. The proposed super Sydney Council would lose this "local" character and would not deliver any meaningful benefits to the communities we serve.
The Panel has failed to put forward a compelling, evidence-based case for change and inner-city councils have no interest in the voluntary merger it proposes.
The joint submission outlines some important concerns, along with alternatives to council amalgamations which include strengthening Regional Organisations of Council.
Local Councils have a fundamental role to play in the leadership and governance for their area. Local government is not just an administrative outpost of the State Government designed to simply deliver services delegated to it.
Local Government must have the authority and capacity to identify community needs and aspirations; set strategic priorities, and develop effective plans to implement them.
There is only 10 days left for you to make a submission to the Sansom Review.