Inner West Labor councilors voted on June 14 to present a false business case for the split to the public, despite Green and Independent councilors arguing the process needed improvement.

The vote was 8-7, with Labor Mayor Darcy Byrne using his casting vote to push it through.

The elected Greens and Independents had sought, in vain, to see and discuss the mandate entrusted to the consulting firm Morrison Low.

The council was split in two during the de-amalgamation, with labor councilors taking every opportunity to deny councillors, local government experts and residents input into the process.

Byrne has repeatedly said he would adhere to the 62.5% vote for the split, but Labor councilors rejected a council committee with local government experts and residents to improve the business case and have ignored residents’ questions about how their comments will be incorporated into the final act.

Labor councilors tabled a new motion at the June meeting which included putting the draft dossier on display now and asking the council’s audit and risk committee to send a letter to all residents warning them the “risks” of a split. The motion also said he would set up a meeting to hear from the Council’s chief executive and Morrison Low.

Brian Halstead of Save Our Councils said that draft business case Morrison Low reads as an argument for the board to stay merged. “It does not examine possible options for how the three former councils of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville could go their separate ways while sharing services,” he said. left green.

“He does not look properly at the implementation of the wishes of the community to separate. Nor does it suggest to the Minister how this could be done. It reads like an updated comparison of the theoretical performance of the old reformed boards with the expected performance of the current board. This sounds very much like a rationale for keeping the current council.

Greens councilor Liz Atkins said left green“The authors of the business case project recognized that a critical piece of work was missing: the detailed qualitative benefits of the spin-off.

“The Greens’ proposal would have ensured that a more holistic view was included in the project, through a panel of local government experts and independent community representatives, before broader community engagement.”

“The Labor Councilors’ refusal to accept wider consultation shows they are content with a shoddy case which has little chance of success with the NSW Government,” said Pip Hinman of Residents for Deamalgamation (RFD). left green.

Michelle Hacking, also from RFD, said: ‘It is disappointing that a limited business case using unsubstantiated and unaligned claims on 62.5% of residents’ wishes is being exposed to the public.’

[Come to a Keep our Councils Local protest outside NSW Parliament on August 9, organised by Residents for Deamalgamation and NSW Demerger Alliance.]

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