New data confirms mergers policy was a debacle

NSW Labor has urged the NSW Government to stop burying its head in the sand and admit the 2016 forced council mergers policy was a dismal failure.


The Your Council website was recently updated to give an insight into how every council throughout the state had performed in a number of areas in 2019/20.


One area of measurement was the operating performance ratio (OPR) – used to compare a council’s operating expenditure and operating income.


Simply if a council’s OPR negative, it is spending more money than it is generating.


Four of the 10 worst performing councils were merged councils while a further four were featured in the top 20 worst performing councils.


COUNCIL

OPERATING PERFORMANCE RATIO (OPR)

RANK (WORST TO BEST OPR)

Hilltops

-21.4

3

Cootamundra-Gundagai

-19.5

5

Central Coast

-15.9

6

Murray River

-14.2

8

Snowy Valleys

-11.1

13

Federation

-10.4

15

Murrumbidgee

-9.1

18

Georges River

-8.2

20


Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren, said the NSW Government and Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock, could no longer ignore the facts.


“Eight of the 20 worst performing councils in terms of operating performance ratio were subjected to the government’s bungled forced mergers policy,” Mr Warren said.


“This is not a coincidence – this is an alarming pattern.


“Minister Hancock has repeatedly ignored the pleas of residents in Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional and Snowy Valleys to have a demerger despite the dire financial predicant both councils find themselves in due to the mergers.


“Minister Hancock and her government are prioritising pride and politics over people and it needs to stop.


“Minister Hancock must: one, admit the policy was a dismal failure; and two, allow residents in Cootamundra-Gundagai and Snowy Valleys to hold a referendum on a demerger so they can decide their own future.”

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