Statement on IPART report

IPART found the City of Sydney 'meets the scale and capacity criterion as a stand-alone council and would be fit as a stand-alone council' but declared us unfit when compared to the idea of a Mega City Council - combining Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick, Botany and the City. An idea that has no support from the communities involved.

The City of Sydney was ranked against a global city criterion that has no community support or evidence and does not consider the significant transfer of assets and responsibility that would be required from the State Government.

The impact of a forced amalgamation now would risk our 10-year, $1.94 billion infrastructure program as well as $30-40 billion worth of private development over the next decade.

IPART's report backs up what we've always said - the City of Sydney is 'Fit for the Future' as a stand-alone council. The report said:

The council satisfies the financial criteria overall. It satisfies the sustainability, infrastructure and service management, and efficiency criteria.

Other data also suggests City of Sydney is a well-run council with significant scale and capacity. It has pro-actively partnered with governments, undertaken significant CBD-based urban renewal, and approved a large range of development projects to grow the CBD.

Our independent auditors Pricewaterhouse Coopers reported to Council last night:

Council is considered to be in a strong and stable financial position. All financial indicators are better than accepted industry benchmarks.

The NSW Government's own Treasury Corporation (TCorp) rates the City's financial sustainability as 'Strong' with a positive outlook - the only one of 152 NSW Councils to receive this rating.

Over the past 10 years, the City has consistently delivered debt-free budgets, kept residential rates among the lowest in Sydney, and delivered high-quality infrastructure needed by our community and the one million visitors to the city each day.

To say the City of Sydney is somehow unfit in the face of this strong evidence to the contrary makes a mockery of the entire review process, and throws into question all decisions made as a result.

Our community's made it clear they don't want to succumb to forced amalgamations, with 80% of residents and 70% of businesses saying they like the boundaries the way they are.

A third of the submissions received by IPART related to the City of Sydney. Just eight of the 520 submissions supported an amalgamation.

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