Getting Council Fit For the Future

Consultation has concluded

Welcome to Council's Fit for the Future community information page.

On Friday, 18 December 2015 the NSW State Government released details of its merger proposals for councils across the State as part of the Fit for the Future Reform Program. This included a proposal for Hawkesbury City Council and part of The Hills Shire Council to merge.

On Thursday, 12 May the Government announced that the proposal to merge Hawkesbury City Council with part of The Hills Shire Council would not proceed.

This page will be regularly updated with information on the Fit For the Future and Merger process. Visit

Welcome to Council's Fit for the Future community information page.

On Friday, 18 December 2015 the NSW State Government released details of its merger proposals for councils across the State as part of the Fit for the Future Reform Program. This included a proposal for Hawkesbury City Council and part of The Hills Shire Council to merge.

On Thursday, 12 May the Government announced that the proposal to merge Hawkesbury City Council with part of The Hills Shire Council would not proceed.

This page will be regularly updated with information on the Fit For the Future and Merger process. Visit the document library for current documents.

Consultation has concluded
  • Keep the Hawkesbury unique - say NO to a Hills Merger

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Keep the Hawkesbury unique - say NO to a Hills Merger

    Take our survey and tell us your views.

    Tell the State Government we say NO by contacting:

    • State Member for Hawkesbury, The Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP, email hawkesbury@parliament.nsw.gov.au, phone (02) 9634 7474, mail to PO Box 298, CASTLE HILL NSW 1765 or in person 287C Old Northern Road, CASTLE HILL NSW 2154

    Keep the Hawkesbury unique - say NO to a Hills Merger

    Take our survey and tell us your views.

    Tell the State Government we say NO by contacting:

    • State Member for Hawkesbury, The Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP, email hawkesbury@parliament.nsw.gov.au, phone (02) 9634 7474, mail to PO Box 298, CASTLE HILL NSW 1765 or in person 287C Old Northern Road, CASTLE HILL NSW 2154


  • Hills resolve to takeover Hawkesbury

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    A merger between the Hawkesbury City Council and The Hills Shire Council would be totally unworkable and impractical said the Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Kim Ford. This was in response to The Hills Council’s resolution to approach the State Government to indicate their willingness to merge with Hawkesbury City Council.

    The report, which was full of misleading statistics and incorrect assumptions, was presented to The Hills Council at its Ordinary Meeting on Tuesday, 10 November 2015.

    “The content of the report makes it abundantly clear that The Hills have no understanding of the needs and values of the Hawkesbury community...

    A merger between the Hawkesbury City Council and The Hills Shire Council would be totally unworkable and impractical said the Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Kim Ford. This was in response to The Hills Council’s resolution to approach the State Government to indicate their willingness to merge with Hawkesbury City Council.

    The report, which was full of misleading statistics and incorrect assumptions, was presented to The Hills Council at its Ordinary Meeting on Tuesday, 10 November 2015.

    “The content of the report makes it abundantly clear that The Hills have no understanding of the needs and values of the Hawkesbury community or of the services and facilities that our Council provides.” the Mayor said.

    “A merger is not the answer. Council has formed a strategic alliance with Penrith City Council and Blue Mountains City Council. This will allow us to achieve the efficiencies that local government reform is seeking while maintaining our autonomy and identity.

    “The Hills propose an unworkable and impractical north-west super council which would stretch westward from North Parramatta to Bilpin covering a massive area of nearly 3,200 square kilometres. Our total area would be represented by, at best, three councillors out of 12 representatives.

    “The Hills aggressive plan signals a potentially disastrous takeover for the residents of the Hawkesbury, who will be largely neglected due this under representation.

    “I am deeply concerned that The Hills report indicates that a different rating structure may need to be applied to any Hawkesbury area of a merger. This may mean that Hawkesbury residents end up paying much more than current Hills residents,” said Councillor Ford.

    A review of local government, which the State Government accepted, has indicated the preferred option for Hawkesbury City Council was no change and the latest assessment by IPART has indicated that Hawkesbury has the scale and the capacity to remain a stand-alone council.

    “There is no evidence to suggest that a merger with The Hills has significant public support or a positive impact for the Hawkesbury.” he said.

    “It seems The Hills primary focus in supporting the merger is the incentive of a cash grab from the State Government, most of which would be spent in merger costs. When neither the Hills nor the Hawkesbury have been asked by the State Government to consider a merger, this certainly seems like a hostile takeover bid.”

    The Hills report also criticised the Hawkesbury’s financial position.

    “This is coming from a Council that has a history of being financially mismanaged,” Councillor Ford said.

    “Hawkesbury City Council acknowledges that it faces financial challenges due to its small rate base. A solid Fit for the Future plan, including 20 strategies, will be adjusted so that Council will meet all benchmarks for a metropolitan Council, even though we are a largely rural area.”

    Hawkesbury City Council’s external auditor from PricewaterhouseCoopers addressed Council’s meeting last Tuesday, 10 November giving a strong assurance to the community that operating results are on track and improving.

    The auditor advised that Hawkesbury City Council was in a good financial position, definitely sustainable and was certainly able to stand on its own, as it has for many years.
  • Residents denied access to merger report

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    The Hills Shire Council continues to press for a takeover of Hawkesbury City Council with a confidential report being placed before Council this Tuesday night, 10 November 2015.

    The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Kim Ford said that The Hills continues to press for a merger despite the fact that Hawkesbury City Council has the scale and capacity to continue as an independent local government body.

    “The Hills Shire Council report conveniently neglects to mention that the government has only asked councils to consider merging if they or a neighbouring council were declared unfit due to ‘scale and capacity’” Councillor Ford...

    The Hills Shire Council continues to press for a takeover of Hawkesbury City Council with a confidential report being placed before Council this Tuesday night, 10 November 2015.

    The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Kim Ford said that The Hills continues to press for a merger despite the fact that Hawkesbury City Council has the scale and capacity to continue as an independent local government body.

    “The Hills Shire Council report conveniently neglects to mention that the government has only asked councils to consider merging if they or a neighbouring council were declared unfit due to ‘scale and capacity’” Councillor Ford said.

    “The Hills has no right to seek a merger with the Hawkesbury. Neither the Hills nor the Hawkesbury have been asked by the Government to consider a merger.

    “A confidential report in a closed council meeting denies both the residents of the Hills and the residents of the Hawkesbury the right to information concerning the future of their local government areas.

    “All financial information regarding both Councils operations is publically available, so there is no reason why this report should be considered in a closed Council meeting.

    “In the name of transparency, I strongly urge the Mayor of The Hills to make this report public.”

    Hawkesbury City Council has satisfied The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s criteria to be fit for the future in terms of “scale and capacity” and two of the three financial criteria. The Hills Council was assessed as fit both in terms of “scale and capacity” and in terms of financial criteria.

    “Council meets the scale and capacity requirements of the Fit For The Future (FFTF) process. As there is not an appropriate neighbouring council “not fit” due to scale and capacity to consider merging with, Council is not considering a merger,” the Mayor concluded.

    Hawkesbury City Council has advised the NSW Government that it now intends to proceed with its FFTF proposal. It will review and amend the implementation of the proposal to achieve the required operating performance ratio, the only criteria that it previously did not meet. This will make Hawkesbury City Council Fit For The Future.

    “We understand that residents are rightfully concerned about the possibility of losing local representation,” Councillor Ford added.

    Residents can have their say by contacting their local State Member for Hawkesbury, The Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP, email hawkesbury@parliament.nsw.gov.au, phone (02) 9634 7474, mail or in person 287C Old Northern Road, Castle Hill NSW 2154 and the Minister for Local Government, The Hon Paul Toole MP, email office@toole.minister.nsw.gov.au, phone (02) 8574 7000, mail or in person Level 17 NE
    52 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000.

  • Councillors stand united

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    At a meeting held 2 November, 2015 Councillors of Hawkesbury City Council confirmed their support to stand united for Hawkesbury City Council to continue to remain as a stand-alone local government entity.

    This stance is backed up by previous reports stating stand alone status as the appropriate outcome, the acknowledgement that Council has scale and capacity, and the commitment to meet all Fit for The Future sustainability criteria.


    Councillors will continue to act to strengthen Council's position and act in the best interests of the future of the Hawkesbury and its residents.


    At a meeting held 2 November, 2015 Councillors of Hawkesbury City Council confirmed their support to stand united for Hawkesbury City Council to continue to remain as a stand-alone local government entity.

    This stance is backed up by previous reports stating stand alone status as the appropriate outcome, the acknowledgement that Council has scale and capacity, and the commitment to meet all Fit for The Future sustainability criteria.


    Councillors will continue to act to strengthen Council's position and act in the best interests of the future of the Hawkesbury and its residents.


  • Council declared unfit despite sustainable breakeven plan

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) published its Assessment of Fit for the Future Proposals of all councils in New South Wales on Wednesday, 20 October.

    Disappointingly, the IPART report deems Hawkesbury City Council as “Not Fit”. This appears to be due to Council not meeting the required Operating Performance Ratio (1 of the 7 criteria) by 2019/2020. Council’s submission indicated that this ratio would be met by 2021.

    The Independent Local Government Review Panel’s (ILGRP’s) preferred option for Council was No Change to its boundaries and Council prepared its proposal, which included 20 strategies to ensure its financial...

    The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) published its Assessment of Fit for the Future Proposals of all councils in New South Wales on Wednesday, 20 October.

    Disappointingly, the IPART report deems Hawkesbury City Council as “Not Fit”. This appears to be due to Council not meeting the required Operating Performance Ratio (1 of the 7 criteria) by 2019/2020. Council’s submission indicated that this ratio would be met by 2021.

    The Independent Local Government Review Panel’s (ILGRP’s) preferred option for Council was No Change to its boundaries and Council prepared its proposal, which included 20 strategies to ensure its financial sustainability, based on this.

    Council will determine its response to the Assessment at its meeting to be held next Tuesday, 27 October.

    In the meantime residents can make their views heard by contacting the State Member for Hawkesbury.

  • Fit for the Future submission lodged

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Council’s Fit for the Future submission has been lodged with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). The proposal can be viewed online at http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Industries/Local_Govt/Fit_for_the_Future.

    Comments on Council's proposal will be received by IPART up until 31st July 2015 and can be submitted online by following the above link.

    IPART will assess all Fit for the Future submissions from councils across the state and are due to report their findings and provide recommendations to the State Government by 16 October 2015.

    Council’s Fit for the Future submission has been lodged with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). The proposal can be viewed online at http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Industries/Local_Govt/Fit_for_the_Future.

    Comments on Council's proposal will be received by IPART up until 31st July 2015 and can be submitted online by following the above link.

    IPART will assess all Fit for the Future submissions from councils across the state and are due to report their findings and provide recommendations to the State Government by 16 October 2015.

  • Preserve the Hawkesbury's Uniqueness

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Hawkesbury residents need to know the facts about amalgamations. Councils across NSW are being asked if they are fit for the future by the NSW Government. Council boundaries were part of a review by the NSW Local Government Review Panel who has made recommendations in regard to each local government area (LGA).

    The Panel has recommended to the State Government that its preferred option is that Hawkesbury City Council remain the same - only nine of the 152 councils across NSW have received this recommendation.

    Council is now preparing its Fit For The Future plan (FFTF) to present to the Independent Pricing and RegulatoryTribunal, outlining how we can continue to serve our community well into the future.

    Hawkesbury Council resolved to submit our plans based on the Panel’s recommendation that
    there be no change for the Hawkesbury LGA and not to entertain any ideas of amalgamation with any other Council, including the options being promoted by The Hills Shire Council, who also received a no change recommendation from the Review Panel.

    We support and agree with the findings of the Review Panel and believe that due to the Hawkesbury’s mix of urban and rural landscape, the area is best served by having its own council who understands the uniqueness and challenges of the area.

    Council is developing its strategic alliance with Blue Mountains and Penrith Councils to explore regional cooperation and strengthen the long term future of each of our councils.

    Most people I speak to are keen to preserve our area’s distinctiveness and don’t want our area infiltrated by mass development such as in The Hills Shire. Like most councils we face challenges but I am confident that we have the scale and capacity to be viable well into the future.

    Councillor Kim Ford

    Mayor of Hawkesbury




    Hawkesbury residents need to know the facts about amalgamations. Councils across NSW are being asked if they are fit for the future by the NSW Government. Council boundaries were part of a review by the NSW Local Government Review Panel who has made recommendations in regard to each local government area (LGA).

    The Panel has recommended to the State Government that its preferred option is that Hawkesbury City Council remain the same - only nine of the 152 councils across NSW have received this recommendation.

    Council is now preparing its Fit For The Future plan (FFTF) to present to the Independent Pricing and RegulatoryTribunal, outlining how we can continue to serve our community well into the future.

    Hawkesbury Council resolved to submit our plans based on the Panel’s recommendation that
    there be no change for the Hawkesbury LGA and not to entertain any ideas of amalgamation with any other Council, including the options being promoted by The Hills Shire Council, who also received a no change recommendation from the Review Panel.

    We support and agree with the findings of the Review Panel and believe that due to the Hawkesbury’s mix of urban and rural landscape, the area is best served by having its own council who understands the uniqueness and challenges of the area.

    Council is developing its strategic alliance with Blue Mountains and Penrith Councils to explore regional cooperation and strengthen the long term future of each of our councils.

    Most people I speak to are keen to preserve our area’s distinctiveness and don’t want our area infiltrated by mass development such as in The Hills Shire. Like most councils we face challenges but I am confident that we have the scale and capacity to be viable well into the future.

    Councillor Kim Ford

    Mayor of Hawkesbury