The State Government has introduced a series of reforms for NSW Local Government called Fit for the Future.
These reforms are intended to provide communities across the State with confidence that their council is financially sound, operating efficiently and is able to guide community growth and deliver quality services.
How do they determine if we are 'Fit for the Future'?
The Office of Local Government has developed criteria and benchmarks for a ‘Fit for the Future’ local government area which are outlined below:
- Effective Infrastructure and Service Management
- Scale and Capacity
A deeper understanding of this criteria and where we currently sit can be found here.
Our Fit for the Future Submission
We made a submission to the State Government’s Fit For the Future Reform that identifies us as being a typical regional council on the Mid North Coast of NSW. We are competent and efficient, but have a roads and bridges network that cannot be sustained by property rates due to population density and geography.
Around fifty percent of councils in NSW, all in regional and rural NSW, are in a similar situation depending on their population and asset base. Effectively these councils are competently unsustainable. There needs to be structural change to the funding of these councils through the Federal Financial Assistance Grants or similar mechanisms.
We have been of a journey of improvement and renewal since 2009 and we have modernised the organisation and maximised efficiency. This NSW Local Government Report provides quantitative data that shows us as a lean, efficient organisation performing well against the majority of benchmarks for 2012/13 and 2013/14.
We do not meet the Fit for the Future benchmarks and we strongly believe that the benchmarks are unrealistic for regional and rural councils.
Our submission identifies that if structural change to funding does not occur and regional and rural councils are left to their fund the renewal of local transport infrastructure from their own source, this can only occur with significant rate increases.
You can find our full submission here.
If you would like to see ours and other council's submissions and also have the opportunity to make your own, visit IPART's website.