(courtesy of City of Ryde)
Last year, the State Government announced a major local government reform program – Fit for the Future – that will impact the way all NSW councils operate. The program proposes to merge 41 Sydney metropolitan councils into 18 ‘mega-councils’ and was created as a response to the findings in the Independent Local Government Review Report.
What are the proposed recommendations affecting the Ryde Local Government Area?
The Fit for the Future proposal for the City of Ryde is a drastic one which would see Ryde destroyed and the community split and dissolved between two new, enormous councils. This extreme proposal (no other Sydney metropolitan council is proposed to be abolished), completely disregards our proud history, unique identity and strong financial performance.
One-third of Ryde (approx. 30,000 residents and ratepayers) proposed to merge with Parramatta, Auburn, Holroyd Councils, which would see a population 3 times greater than the City of Ryde of more than 300,000 people.
Two thirds of Ryde’s are to the east (approx. 70,000 residents and ratepayers) proposed to to merge with Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Mosman, Willoughby, and North Sydney Councils to create a population of 300,000.
What is Council’s position?
In February, Council again voted unanimously to reject the disintegration of the City of Ryde, and endorsed the exploration of an alternative model.
This alternative proposal would investigate the formation of a joint ‘regional’ organisation of neighbouring councils of Hunters Hill and Lane Cove. This regional alignment would see the City of Ryde not only retain its identity, voice and history, but partner with neighbouring councils to our north and east in a way that has the potential to meet the State Government’s criteria of size and strategic capability and demonstrate that both the City of Ryde and the region under this model are sustainable and Fit for the Future.
Council will be seeking community feedback through the coming months to understand community sentiment on this important issue and particularly on the options Council is considering. This will include information packages, surveys, and community meetings.
Council is committed to keeping all residents updated as this issue progresses as we understand it is an important topic that affects all our residents. Please read more here about Fit for the Future at the City of Ryde’s website.
You can also register to receive updates on the Fit for the Future program and what the City of Ryde is doing about it. Register here.
During the first week of the survey, more than 82% of survey respondents said they were against forced amalgamation. Add your voice!
Community Meeting Tuesday 5 May
Cr Bill Pickering, Mayor of Ryde, would like to invite you to the first in a series of community meetings which will discuss in detail the impacts of forced amalgamation and the benefits of Ryde’s alternative which is an alignment with our neighbours, on Tuesday 5 May at 7.00pm at the Ryde Civic Centre.
Ryde Business Forum’s position
Ryde Business Forum is opposed to the merger proposed by the NSW Government and believes that it will be detrimental to the wider community and to the business community. Under the proposed merger 12 Councillors would be responsible for supporting 300,000 people. This is an untenable situation; the time taken to respond to the needs of residents and ratepayers would extend to months instead of the current weekly turnaround our Councillors offer.
Furthermore for business owners, it could mean the difference between ‘Survival’ or ‘Loss’.
Ryde Business Forum supports the City of Ryde’s fight against forced amalgamation, and its proposal for a regional organisation between Ryde, Hunter’s Hill and Lane Cove Councils. This proposal will keep Ryde’s identity and community intact and will offer Ryde’s businesses the support and access to Council services that a ‘mega-Council’ cannot provide.
Your feedback as business people is very much appreciated. Tell us your views. Email Sabrina Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org