23 November 2012
The report by the independent local government review panel correctly calls for improvements in the efficiency of local councils while keeping the ‘local’ in local government, says the Urban Taskforce.
“The latest report from the independent panel raises all the right issues,” says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson. “Financial viability in a changing world is a key issue along with tackling infrastructure needs and moves towards regional collaboration.”
“The need to have a clear relationship with the state government is another driver of reform. With the planning Green Paper proposing Regional Planning Boards and Joint Regional Planning Panels, clearly a regional structuring of a number of councils will work better with the state government.”
“No one wants another layer of government in Australia, so a structure, that keeps councils as local bodies while enjoying the efficiencies of regional collaboration, is required.
“Shared service centres, between a number of councils, is an option proposed by the review panel and the Urban Taskforce strongly supports this approach as it allows councils to remain as a local focus for communities.
“Pooling skills in areas like planning across a number of councils will lead to better service for customers, better career opportunities and better efficiency.
“It is essential that new entities for regional collaboration relate to the regions defined by other government agencies including strategic planning regions.
“The Urban Taskforce congratulates the review panel and the Minister for Local Government for calling for far reaching changes and for ensuring that all ideas are on the table. This is a once in a generation opportunity to rethink the role and structure of local government in NSW.