Local Government Reform

It's important we all understand what Fit for the Future means. Here you will find information on:

 

State Government's proposal to merge Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick Councils

On 18 December last year, the State Government announced a Merger Proposal for the Eastern Suburbs. The Proposal mergers Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick City Councils.

The proposed merged area will be 58 km², with over 274,000 residents and will span from Watsons Bay in the north to La Perouse in the south. As outlined in the Proposal document the new Council will deliver $149 million total financial benefit over 20 years.

The Merger Proposal, including benefits of the merge, is available to view online at www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au where you can make submissions to the Office of Local Government until 5pm Sunday 28 February.

The Office of Local Government have allocated a Delegate, Dr Robert Lang, to review and assess the Merger Proposal and to consult with the three councils, and the community. Dr Lang is coordinating two public inquiries (meetings), where members of the public are welcome to attend and speak.

The date and time of the meetings are:

Thursday 4 February, 1–5pm
Club Rose Bay, 1 Vickery Ave, Rose Bay NSW 2029

Thursday 4 February, 7–10pm
Club Rose Bay, 1 Vickery Ave, Rose Bay NSW 2029

Those wishing to attend are requested to register online at www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au or by contacting 1300 813 020. Members of the public who would like to speak at the meeting are asked to indicate they wish to do so when registering attendance. People are only able to speak once at the meeting, and the order of speaking will be decided by Dr Lang.

All are welcome and encouraged to attend these public meetings. If you are unable to attend, you are welcome to make your submission online to the Office of Local Government as outlined above.

Following the consultation period the Delegate, Dr Lang, will submit a report to the Minister for Local Government and the Boundaries Commission before a final decision is made by the State Government as to the future of the Eastern Suburbs local government areas.

Waverley-Randwick merger proposal

On Wednesday 10 June, Council agreed that although its preference was to stand alone, as a stand-alone Council we cannot meet the requirement for sufficient scale and capacity under the Fit for the Future requirements. Waverley Council decided to oppose a global city council and instead opt for a much smaller eastern suburbs council with Randwick. However, this merger will only continue on the condition the State Government proceeds with its Fit for the Future program in a robustly fair and consistent manner across Metropolitan Sydney.

Council also resolved the inclusion of Woollahra with Waverley and Randwick in an eastern suburbs council would provide additional benefits to the community. The full resolution is available for your information.

Read Waverley and Randwick Councils merger proposal, including a business case outlining the proposed benefits of the merger. Both documents were submitted to IPART on Monday 29 June at 4.30pm.

The background

Local government reform has been under discussion for many years. 

In October 2013, the Independent Local Government Review Panel released a report which recommended Waverley be part of a ‘global city’ that takes in the whole of the eastern suburbs and stretches south to the airport and Port Botany.

In September last year the State Government announced its Fit for the Future package and all Councils were asked to assess their organisation against the following criteria:

  • scale and capacity
  • financial sustainability
  • efficiency
  • infrastructure and services.

We’re on track to meet most of the criteria outlined – we’re in a strong financial position and we’re making great progress on our infrastructure backlog. However, with a population of only 70,706 and covering 9.2 km2, Waverley standing alone was unlikely to meet the threshold requirement of ‘scale and capacity’.

Your feedback

Thank you to all those residents and businesses who provided feedback to Council as part of this process. Earlier this year, we asked the whole Waverley community to rank the six possible options from most preferred to least preferred. Surveys of 1270 residents and 238 businesses showed approximately 36 per cent of our residents and businesses said their first preference was for Waverley to remain on its own. Over 60 per cent of people’s first preference was a merger of some sort. A small percentage of people didn’t tell us their first preference.

The full consultation report can be found here.

The proposed new Council


An independent financial review found that the Waverley-Randwick merger “is the strongest option for Waverley from a Fit for the Future perspective”. The new Council will be financially strong and would meet all Fit for the Future benchmarks within three years.  

The merger of Randwick and Waverley will maintain existing services, protect jobs, solve the infrastructure backlog, and continue or strengthen our planned capital works program.

Importantly, there are potential efficiencies available of up to $103 million over 10 years, which can be reinvested in stronger services.

What happens next?

Our submission will be sent to IPART by 30 June 2015, who has been tasked with determining if councils meet the State Government's Fit for the Future benchmarks. Each council submission will be on exhibition for 28 days on IPART’s website ipart.nsw.gov.au, closing 31 July 2015. This will give the community further opportunity to provide feedback. After the exhibition period, IPART will assess all council submissions and make recommendations to State Government by mid October 2015.

If mergers do proceed, ‘Transition Committees’, which would include the Mayor, a Councillor and a General Manager from each council, are likely to be established. The likely effective date of merger would be September 2016.

If the State Government decided at any stage not to proceed with its Fit for the Future reforms in a strong and consistent way, then Waverley Council will withdraw the proposal to merge with Randwick. 

 

More information?

If you have any questions about the information pack or Fit for the Future, email fitforthefuture@waverley.nsw.gov.au or call Council's Communications and Engagement Manager on 9083 8168.