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Mosman residents attend 'Fit for the Future' meeting

11 March 2015

Almost 100 Mosman ratepayers turned out on Monday night to discuss Mosman Council’s continued independence and three possible amalgamation options with nearby councils in response to the NSW Government’s “Fit for the Future” program.

Mayor Cr Peter Abelson presented cost and benefits associated with each of the four options. Council has only recently reaffirmed its strong opposition to forced amalgamations in any form.

The three amalgamation 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, as well as smaller mergers with either North Sydney or Manly.

The Mayor, an economist, explained how councils are expected to respond to the criteria by demonstrating scale, strategic capacity and financial sustainability in order to show their “fitness” for the future and how smaller councils, such as Mosman, have proven their ability to develop equally effective partnership and outsourcing arrangements as larger councils.

“We have been a major collaborator and contractor of services,” he told the meeting.

Cr Abelson warned Mosman’s high service delivery levels may not be maintained if an amalgamation occurred.

“Public space cleaning ratios in some other councils are far less regular than in Mosman … our senior citizen services are unparalleled,” he said.

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

A number of residents and other speakers addressed the audience, including members of the Hands Off Mosman coalition.

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