NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Local Government Paul Toole said 19 new councils announced in NSW today will work harder for residents and deliver better services and community facilities.
“The most comprehensive local government reform in more than 100 years will result in 19 new councils beginning operations from today,” Mr Baird said.
In principle, the Minister for Local Government supports creating a further nine councils, subject to decisions of the courts.
“Our plan to create stronger new councils in Sydney and regional NSW will be supported by NSW Government investment of about $500 million,” Mr Baird said.
“We are ensuring our communities have stronger and more efficient councils, which will free up money for important projects such as local roads, parks, playgrounds and footpaths.”
The rate protection policy commitment means residents of new councils will pay no more for their rates than they would have under their old council for four years.
Reducing waste and red tape through local government mergers could free up close to $2 billion over the next 20 years, allowing councils to fund better services and new infrastructure for communities or lower rates.
The NSW Government will conduct a review in four years to ensure the community is continuing to benefit from stronger councils.
Mr Toole said it will be business as usual for residents in new council areas, with services operating as normal.
Each new council will receive up to $10 million to meet the costs of merging and up to an additional $15 million to kick start new investment in community infrastructure through the Stronger Communities Fund.
“New councils and their communities will decide how to spend their community funds. Projects could include pools, libraries, sporting fields, car park expansions or grants to junior sporting groups,” Mr Toole said.
Mr Toole thanked delegates who examined the proposals and the Boundaries Commission for its important work.
Many people have taken the opportunity to have their say during the consultation process, by speaking at inquiries or making written submissions.
“The NSW Government has listened to community concerns and created new wards that reflect the identity of existing communities,” Mr Toole said.
Mr Toole said that residents should also feel confident that planning protections would remain in place with existing Local Environmental Plans remaining in force under the new councils.
An Administrator and an interim General Manager have been appointed to new councils ahead of council elections on 9 September 2017.