No Merger for the Hawkesbury
Last week the NSW Government advised Council that it would not be proceeding with the proposed merger of Hawkesbury City Council and part of The Hills Shire Council.
This decision was based on the recommendation of Mr Gary West, the delegate appointed by the Office of Local Government to conduct the public inquiry into the merger proposal. You can read the Delegate’s report in full on the NSW Government’s Stronger Councils Stronger Communities Website.
Mr West concluded that the proposed merger would not result in efficient and effective local government based on the following reasons:
The proposed merged council entity would not be financially sustainable and would not address the revenue shortfall which contributed to Council being assessed as ‘unfit’ by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.
There is no clear evidence that the infrastructure backlog of the proposed merged council could be funded without a reliance on rate increases.
The proposed merger would have a significant negative economic impact on the Hawkesbury.
The lack of direct public transport links between Windsor and Baulkham Hills.
The clear evidence that Hawkesbury area is oriented towards Penrith and the Blue Mountains rather than The Hills.
These reasons were outlined in Council’s submission in response to the merger proposal.
Thank you to our community for the support you have shown in retaining our local government area. We particularly appreciate the support received residents who attended the public inquiry meetings and who lodged submissions with Mr West.
We will now get on with the challenge of continuing to make this Council sustainable into the future. Council will carry on implementing its Fit for the Future Plan. We will now be able to fully commit to the Regional Strategic Alliance with Penrith and Blue Mountains City Councils and continue our active engagement with these councils to deliver the productivity and efficiency outcomes expected under the Fit for the Future reform framework.
Consultation has concluded