Have Your Say – Proposed Council Mergers

HAVE YOUR SAY AND RETAIN YOUR PITTWATER LIFESTYLE

What’s happening?

Since 2012 the State Government has been seeking to reduce the number of rural and metropolitan councils in New South Wales in an endeavour to make councils stronger and more efficient.  An independent Local Government Regional Panel was appointed which, despite strong opposition from residents on the northern beaches, recommended the amalgamation of Manly, Warringah and Pittwater Councils.  Your Committee, in conjunction with other Pittwater Resident Associations, is strongly opposed to this amalgamation, as we believe the reasons being put forward simply do not apply to Pittwater.

Pittwater Council engaged external consultants to complete the government’s mandatory process of Fit for the Future and was certified as being able to deliver in respect of all government criteria.  Pittwater Council is financially strong, independent, conscious of local issues and we believe is in a better position when making decisions to continue the unique living lifestyle for Pittwater residents. Now nobody is perfect, and you are aware we have fought hard at times to ensure Pittwater Council understands our needs and the particular requirements of residents in Warriewood. We have been able to achieve a lot, because we have good local representation on our Council. The emphasis being on local and approachable. Pittwater Council was formed only 23 years ago, and it was formed, with the agreement of the then State Government, because Pittwater residents were able to clearly demonstrate that being part of a larger Warringah Council was simply not working for Pittwater residents, and your committee, together with virtually every other resident group from Palm Beach to Warriewood see no reason at all to change this. Indeed, to do so, would be a serious backward step.

The history of Councils demonstrates at both international and domestic levels that merging councils is not successful; that the process is costly and disruptive; and does not achieve savings or positive outcomes.  You are probably aware that a number of mergers in Queensland for example had to be undone, at a huge expense to ratepayers and tax payers. We won our independence only 23 years ago, and we should not be surrendering it unless there are compelling reasons to do so, and in Pittwater’s case, those reasons simply do not exist.

If you consult the Council’s website: http://www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au, three options are put forward for public comment, together with an on-line survey .  We urge you to give consideration to this important issue and vote for Option 1:  to continue the status quo of continuing to have an independent Pittwater Council representing us with its existing boundaries

Your Association encourages you to become involved in what is the most important issue affecting us all since Pittwater was formed in 1992:

 

  • Attend the community consultation meeting being held by Council at:
    Pittwater RSL Club on Tuesday 19th May 2015 at 6.30 to 8.30 pm
  • Read and act on the package of material which will be sent by Council to every household.
  • Contact one or more of our local south ward councillors to ask about the proposed amalgamations or to state your views to our councillors: Jacqui Townsend, Mayor 0427 959 631, Kay Millar 0481 000 377, Julie Hegarty 0400 341 168
  • Visit Council’s website www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au and complete their on-line survey.
  • Use the blog below to give us your views, or to ask any questions, or email us at committee@warriewood.org.au

In summary, why Pittwater should retain its independence and continue on its current boundaries:

FFF_Square offset

  • Pittwater Council is financially STRONG.
  • Pittwater Council is INDEPENDENT.
  • Pittwater Council is LOCAL.
  • MEGA COUNCILS don’t work.
  • Merging councils is COSTLY and DISRUPTIVE.
  • IF it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.

NSW Treasury (T-Corp) places Pittwater in the Top 10 metropolitan councils for current and future sustainability.  Councillor ratio to residents is excellent.  In 1992 Pittwater Council was the first local council to be formed by secession in 100 years.  Prior to this time a disproportionately small portion of rates collected from the northern peninsula was being spent in the northern peninsula leading to a significant backlog in infrastructure and community facilities.  Prior to 1992 northern councillors in the former council were regularly outvoted by other councillors and inappropriate developments were being approved.  Many Pittwater residents considered they were receiving very poor service from a large and remote council with a swollen bureaucracy.

In 2014 a survey conducted indicated that 91% of residents were satisfied with Pittwater Council’s overall performance.  The prospect of a return to the former regime is cause for great concern.

The Warriewood Residents Association believes that local councils must be LOCAL as they serve their communities more effectively than distant mega-councils. Let us not see a repeat of mistakes made elsewhere such as in Queensland, where shortly after having borne significant costs in merging councils in 2008, even more money was then wasted in 2013/14 in the de-merging of councils like:

Click here for more detail on what happened in Queensland.

More information with regard to our own Pittwater situation has been set up by the community here.  Pittwater Forever

The proposed amalgamation is being driven by an agenda that does not take into consideration what the community want. The criteria upon which the decision is being made is fundamentally flawed, and if we don’t all act now, we will unfortunately wear the consequences. Read what the experts say.

IPART has been appointed by the State Government to oversee Council reforms and proposed amalgamations, but their terms of reference have to be of serious concern to any democratically minded person. This letter to the Manly Daily (7 May 2015) sums it up.

We will be keeping you informed and you are encouraged to start or join a discussion, or address your queries, in the blog below. Your opinion is important. Please don’t miss the opportunity to have your say on such an important matter.

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Discussion

6 thoughts on “Have Your Say – Proposed Council Mergers

  1. We are in shock and so disappointed that it seems some councillors have put their own need above that of the community. Our council was formed after a long hard battle and these 3 councillors, with this rescission motion, are betraying their own organisation and therefore as a consequence the community. The 3 councillors failed to have the motion to include amalgamation option 2 passed at the routine council meeting. The discussion was long and hard and often bitter. Now it seems the umpire’s decision is to be overturned, and at the 11th hour. Is it a case of being a poor looser, or naivety, or other, as the arguments for the rescission motion are implausible. If passed the rescission motion plays into the hands of the State Government and even worse Warringah Council. Councillors are elected to represent the electorate not themselves. The electorate has spoken very clearly – Pittwater forever and no change to the boundary. If a change of boundary is agreed to in the submission to IPART, the type and level of change is then out of our council’s hands. This undemocratic motion must be defeated. Thank goodness for councillors who represent the electorate rather than themselves. Attend Monday’s meeting to remind those councillors who need reminding that the community has spoken.

    Posted by Julia Guinan | June 28, 2015, 8:06 am
  2. Do we need 120% opposition to the rescission motion for it to be stopped. The facts are that over 80% of the respondents to the Council sponsored survey voted for Option 1 alone. When I saw the rescission motion it made me think that Pittwater must be taking the lead from East Germany where the vote had to be 120% for the rulers to even considered that they may be a problem. Councillors please take our views as soundly held and we will fight for Pittwater when the real fight with the State Government begins.
    In the final analysis the Council organized the vote to support its case so what went so horribly wrong?
    SUPPORT OPTION 1 ONLY

    Posted by Chris Hornsby | June 28, 2015, 2:53 am
  3. Hear Hear. I couldn’t agree more. I can hardly believe this! Talk about “about face”? What must they be thinking? Pittwater councillors voted in the majority to retain the status quo – and just two weeks later there is a possibility that their majority decision can be rescinded? This is despite Council-funded community meetings, on-line and telephone surveys showing overwhelming support for retaining the status quo. Previous experience of mega councils, both in Australia and overseas, has proved that they don’t work and in many cases vast sums of ratepayers’ funds have had to be spent to reverse this appalling situation. There is talk of protecting the Council’s position. If the NSW Government has their way, the Council will not have a position. Please ensure that you all attend Monday night’s Council meeting to show your support of Pittwater Forever.

    Posted by Jennifer | June 27, 2015, 10:29 am
  4. This rescission motion proposed by councillors Townsend, Millar and White for the meeting this coming Monday (29th June 2015) is a real concern. We have listened to their arguments for what they believe, and the community involving 18 resident associations the full length of the peninsula just don’t accept their point of view. We want Council to stand firm on one submission to IPART, and not give the State Government what they are looking for – Council’s volunteering to amalgamate with part or all of another Council.

    We understood this meeting on Monday was to endorse Council’s submission to IPART for Pittwater to retain its existing boundaries unchanged, but these three councillors have taken the opportunity to raise a rescission motion, and to go against the clear view of the Pittwater community as expressed at both the RSL public meeting and Council’s own community survey. We have been made aware that not all councillors can attend Monday’s meeting, so are these 3 councillors using this opportunity to not only go against the clear wishes of the community, but also against the previous vote of the full Council?

    If they are, then this is shameful, and yet another illustration of the terrible damage the State Government is doing in pitting councillor against councillor, Council against Council and leaving the community as the losers.

    Rob & judy Hack, Warriewood

    Posted by aussieglide | June 27, 2015, 7:18 am
  5. Bravo Chris
    We are new residents of Warriewood Valley and your words are encouraging. We will fight the good fight and you can count on us for support.

    Posted by Michael | May 11, 2015, 11:08 pm
  6. This is an issue that cannot be left for others to take over. Pittwater residents and those new to Warriewood have a vital interest in this issue and help wherever possible as we did with the over development proposals that seemed to many unstoppable. This is wedge politics of the worst kind and we don’t want it. Once the government gets it way then the planning laws will change and then it is one town plan model fits all and all our amenity will be lost for short term profit. The WRA has to support the stop the amalgamation campaign as it must also continue the fight against the destruction of out Sector 9 park. One sometimes wonders when we will get a fair go from our elected representatives. Don’t worry I have not lost heart it just makes me more determined than ever because we can win this with community support.

    Posted by Chris Hornsby | May 3, 2015, 11:58 pm

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