IPART claims Strathfield is not “fit for the future” - council says the system was designed so they would fail

Strathfield Council has been branded as not fit for the future by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) report to the state government on possible council amalgamations.

A merger between close neighbours Auburn, Burwood and Canada Bay was given the nod by the Tribunal, raising concerns that Strathfield might be forced to join the group.

But sources have told the Scene that the preferred option by most observers is a merger between Strathfield, Canada Bay and Burwood, a scenario that has been rehearsed in leaks to newspapers over the past few days.

Only nine of Sydney metropolitan councils’ proposals  were deemed as “fit for the future”. According to IPART’s report, most councils, including Strathfield have failed to meet the ‘scale and capacity’ criteria.

Councils will now be given 30 days to respond to the state government.

A spokesperson from Strathfield Council said, "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.
"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."

Premier Mike Baird and Local Government Minister Paul Toole addressed the media this morning, saying that mergers could save $20 billion over 20 years.

“Four years of independent research, analysis and NSW government consultation with councils and the community has shown that the current system of local government is not working as well as it should be,” said Mr Baird.

“With 60 per cent of councils not fit for the future, this IPART report shows the situation is now critical and that action is needed to ensure ratepayers get value for money and the services and infrastructure they deserve.”

The Daily Telegraph last week reported that government sources revealed that Strathfield would be merged with Canada Bay and Burwood.

Planning Minister Rob Stokeslast week announced that Sydney would be split into six super planning districts to help the state government plan for Sydney’s increasing population.

Strathfield would be part of the Central planning districtwhich would include Ashfield, Botany Bay, Burwood, Canada Bay, Leichhardt, Marrickville, Randwick, Strathfield, Sydney, Waverly and Woollahra.

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