26 April 2013
Strathfield Council has rejected suggestions it should merge with Burwood, Ashfield and Canada Bay, pointing out that Strathfield has nothing to gain and much to lose under such a proposal.
The amalgamation proposal was put forward in the Local Government Review Panel’s ‘Future Directions for NSW Government’ report.
Strathfield Mayor Gulian Vaccari said while merging may be in the interests of some councils, the plan simply did not serve the interests of Strathfield residents.
“Amalgamation is not a one-size-fits-all solution and the proposal put forward by the Local Government Review Panel does not fit Strathfield,” Cr Vaccari said.
“The residents of Strathfield, who elected me and my fellow councillors, would have nothing to gain.
“Strathfield residents enjoy some of the lowest council rates in Sydney and Council is extremely conservative about revenue raising in general. Despite this low cost to residents, we are nevertheless maintaining a balanced budget.
“If we merged with other councils all of this would be at extreme risk.
“I commend the O’Farrell Liberal State Government for sticking by its promise of no forced amalgamations. As Queensland has amply demonstrated, forcing amalgamation on communities that don’t want it only causes pain in the long term. A number of Queensland councils have recently had to go through the process of de-amalgamation at great cost, and I would hate to see the same thing happen here.
Cr Vaccari said Strathfield was in great shape to deal with the challenges of today and tomorrow.
“The recent independent TCorp review into council finances found that Strathfield exceeds its assessment benchmarks and is sustainable into the future,” he said.
“Because of our conservative approach to spending and to revenue raising, Strathfield is lean and fit, and in an exceptionally strong position to take on the challenges of the future.
“Our position would certainly not be any stronger for merging with Burwood, Canada Bay or Ashfield.”