Ratepayers have their say on Mosman's future

25 February 2015

Mosman Council is inviting ratepayers to vote on its continued independence and three possible amalgamation options with nearby councils in response to the NSW Government’s “Fit for the Future” program.

Under the program, councils are expected to demonstrate scale, strategic capacity and financial sustainability in order to show their ‘fitness’ for the future.

Mosman Council confirmed its strong opposition to forced amalgamations at its meeting on 17 February. Maintaining Mosman’s independence is the first of the four options being put to the community.

The other three options include a “mega merger” proposed by the Independent Local Government Review Panel and supported by the NSW Government of Mosman, North Sydney, Lane Cove, Hunters Hill, Willoughby and two thirds of Ryde council and mergers with either North Sydney or Manly.

Mosman Mayor and economist Cr Peter Abelson said it was not clear that scale was a sensible stand-alone criterion and strategic capacity was defined in vague terms, such as “knowledge, creativity and innovation” and “advanced skills in strategic planning and policy development”.

“Nor has the NSW Government produced any evidence that larger councils are more financially sustainable than small councils,” Cr Abelson said.

“One reason is that small councils can develop effective partnership and outsourcing arrangements as Mosman has done extensively with the Northern Beaches group of councils known as SHOROC and with other councils.”

The Mosman community has long supported independence with 81% of voters in the 2012 election opposing amalgamation with any other area.

Information is being circulated to the community and ratepayers are invited to attend a public meeting at 7pm on Monday 9 March. More information is available at mosman.nsw.gov.au.