Reforming Sydneys Councils

01 July 2013

Sydney’s councils need to be restructured into 6 regional groupings with Councils of Mayors and Shared Service Centres, says the Urban Taskforce.


“If the State Government will not force amalgamations of councils then it should force a regional grouping of councils with a Council of Mayors and a Shared Service Centre to improve efficiency,” says Chris Johnson CEO of the Urban Taskforce.  ” There must be a better alignment between the State Government’s approach to delivering services through a regional structure and the grouping of councils within this structure.”


“Sydney’s 43 separate councils are too many to relate to the State Government for metropolitan government and planning. The State Plan should set the structure for metropolitan governance through 6 restructured Regional Organisations of Councils established formally under the Local Government Act.”


“The 6 Regional Organisations of Councils should be required to establish Shared Service Centres to provide services more efficiently. These centres should include Centres of Excellence for Planning and for Roads.”


“The strategic planning function must occur on a more regional level and larger shared planning offices will change the culture of council planners to think more broadly and in a more business-like manner.”


“The T-Corp study into council financial sustainability in NSW found that 61.2% of the massive infrastructure backlog was in public roads and this is where actions at a more regional level with a shared service centre philosophy can better tackle this problem.”


“The Urban Taskforce has produced a document outlining ’20 Essential Actions’ as a response to the Independent Local Government Review Panels report titled ’20 Essential Steps’. The Taskforce outlines a case for reform that retains councils as the ‘local’ level of government without the need for forced amalgamations.”


The key actions are:

  • 6 New Regional Organisations of Councils
  • 6 Councils of Mayors
  • Keep ‘Local’ in Local Government
  • Shared Service Centres
  • Business Like Approach
  • 6 Centres of Excellence for Planning
  • 6 Centres of Excellence for Roads
  • Popularly Elected Mayors
  • City of Sydney a Special Case
  • Businesses to Vote
  • Trial with Sydney West and Hunter


Here is a map outlining the Urban Taskforce’s proposed 6 Regional Organisations of Councils




The full report on Reforming Sydney’s Councils – 20 Essential Actions can be accessed by clicking on the following link:


Download PDF here.