With the limited time available to review the Fit for the Future IPART report, Strathfield Council believes the report is highly subjective and uses criteria designed for Councils to fail.
The two metro merger proposals were assessed as fit when they are clearly not consistent with the merger proposals put forward by the Independent Panel.
The report goes into details about claimed financial benefits of merging, however, The Parliamentary Budget Office, Ernst and Young and IPART all arrive at different results – some differing in hundreds of millions of dollars.
Page 10 of the report clearly states “In general, most Metropolitan Sydney councils demonstrated their current and forecast financial performance was relatively strong.”
It is clear that the Scale and Capacity criterion invented by the State Government was designed to ensure Councils failed the Fit for the Future process to ensure that Councils are forced to merge.
No verifiable data has been put forward by the State Government to support the meaningless Scale and Capacity criteria.
IPART has assessed Strathfield Council as financially sustainable, efficient and addressing local infrastructure needs but because Council did not submit a merger proposal it has been deemed to be unfit for the future.
The report includes net benefits estimated by Independent economic consultants of the proposals submitted. Councils have not had any input or information into the assessment of these benefits.
It is also worth noting that the report mentions that the majority of all submissions received were against amalgamation – which has been totally ignored by the State Government and IPART.
Strathfield Council is continuing to review the almost 500 page report to determine the next steps.
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