Thursday, 20 August 2015
Fit for the Future
Mitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Social Services) Share this | Hansard source
The government supports sustainable, viable and strong local government as an important part of the Australian government's regional economic development agenda. Consideration and implementation of local government reforms, including amalgamations, is a matter for states and territories. In the past decade all jurisdictions have initiated reviews of aspects of local government with the intention of improving organisational and financial effectiveness and efficiency and enhancing service delivery. Considerations of amalgamations have formed part of those reviews.
In New South Wales a comprehensive review of local government commenced in 2012, including extensive research into council finances, service delivery, local government boundaries and local decision-making models. In September 2014 the New South Wales government announced a $1 billion Fit for the Future reform initiative package—a blueprint for the future of councils—that includes financial incentives for merging councils and undertaking reform activities. The government provides $2.3 billion annually in untied funding for local governments under the financial assistance grants program.