Local council boundaries across Sydney should be consolidated around key commercial and transit corridors – with rate pegging abolished as councils grow in size and capacity.
That is the key recommendation from a new Property Council of Australia policy paper, Local Government Reform.
The paper urges the NSW Government to commission an independent public review to consider the optimal shape, role and financial structure of councils.
The paper finds that NSW has too many councils with boundaries that no longer reflect modern transport corridors and commercial centres. Councils suffer from a lack of resource sharing, poor planning and a lack of leadership.
“We need to give local government the tools it needs to meet community demand for better infrastructure and services,” NSW Executive Director, Glenn Byres, said.
“Local government is currently hampered by a choked financial base. Equally, existing boundaries were set 100 years ago and lack any real relevance to existing transport corridors and commercial centres.
“The circuit breaker should be an independent public inquiry that explores the modern boundaries, professional leadership and improved financial base that councils need.”
Headline recommendations in the Property Council’s paper include:
- An independent public review that reports within 12 months
- A focus on redrawing boundaries to reflect the modern shape of our cities
- Improved resource sharing between councils
- Post-amalgamation, the abolition of rate pegging – tied to compliance with a Fiscal Responsibility Framework
- Winding back the over-reliance on development levies
- Using alternative finance methods such as Growth Area Bonds
- Full-time mayors with fixed terms
To view the report – Local Government Reform - please click here.
To view the Property Council's media release, please click here.