No Merger for Hawkesbury State Government decision announced today

The NSW Minister for Local Government today announced that there will be no merger for the Hawkesbury Local Government Area and the Hawkesbury will remain a stand-alone Council.

Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Kim Ford said, “This is great news for our community. This decision recognises the uniqueness of the Hawkesbury, and ensures that the interests of our community and the integrity of our area will be protected.”

A report presented by Garry West, the Delegate of the Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government assigned to review the Hawkesbury and part of the Hills merger proposal said, “Having considered the merger proposal, previous review by the ILGRP and IPART, the submissions by the affected Councils, submissions from members of the public and community groups and other material the Delegate of the Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government is not convinced that the proposal as submitted will result in efficient and effective local government in the existing and proposed new areas. It is therefore recommended that the proposal not be implemented.”

“I am not opposed to local government reform but I think it needs to be more than just the redrawing of lines on a map. True reform in local government requires a mature conversation and a rebalancing of the relationship between state and local government and should   include a meaningful review of the funding model for local government” said the Mayor.

The Hawkesbury and part of The Hills merger just did not make sense on many levels, be it financial, geographic or social.”

The Mayor said he would like to thank the community for the support that they have shown Council in this process, especially those who wrote submissions, letters, organised rallies, spoke at Council Meetings and importantly  attended the Delegates inquiry to express their views.

The Hawkesbury area is truly unique and I feel that the Delegate understood that and communicated it successfully to the NSW State Government.

I would like to also especially thank the staff who have worked so hard on our anti merger campaign and in the preparation of reports and submissions. The support of Councillors and staff over the past four years has been exceptional.

We now face the challenge of continuing to make this Council sustainable into the future. Council will continue to implement 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,” the Mayor concluded.