Amalgamation submissions due by 5pm Sunday (tomorrow)

Quick reminder to find 3 minutes this weekend to make your submission to the boundary review commission by 5pm Sunday (tomorrow).


Hi everyone,

This is just a quick reminder that submissions close at 5pm Sunday 28th Feb (tomorrow night).

Even the briefest submission counts, which should take less than 3 minutes, and you can do it at

The letter (link below) to the editor of the Northern District Times was written by one of the Committee members of the Gladesville Community Group (inc), and is his personal opinion. The group has not sought broad membership and does not claim to speak on your behalf. We currently have 152 subscribers to the email list, all voluntary subscriptions except for the Councillors, General Manager, and Group Manager of Planning at Hunters Hill Council who were added as a courtesy. ‘Unsubscription’s are respected, but we’ve only had 2 so far. Our aim is to balance the information in the public domain by telling interested subscribers the parts of the story that are not convenient for others to tell, and to encourage you to speak constructively for yourself.

The letter linked above is one alternative proposal that the author thought should have been investigated. We don’t expect our subscribers to agree with that model necessarily, but the point being made is that the councils’ ‘consultation’ never asked residents what mattered to us and what model we want for the future. Instead, the councils developed this Joint Regional Authority concept (discussed below) and held public meetings at the 11th hour to ask people if they want “A Superior Alternative”. There are many forms of Superior Alternative that could have been investigated if councils consulted with residents as a listening activity and earlier in the process, but instead residents were left to implicitly rubber-stamp the JRA model. Councils claim 80% support for the JRA, when in fact what 80% of people wanted was a Superior Alternative – something better than i) the 5-council mega-merger (originally proposed as Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Willoughby, North Sydney, and most of Ryde) or ii) a continuation of the councils being independent as they are.

If, like most residents, you haven’t had time to read hundreds of pages of submissions and analysis: the JRA is meant to be a body that sits above member councils (Ryde, Hunters Hill, and Lane Cove), with member councils having representatives that meet periodically and reach unanimous agreement on how to work together. There is already an organisation called the Northern Sydney Region of Councils (NSROC), that is already celebrated for successfully facilitating voluntary collaboration, which makes us wonder what the JRA is supposed to be able to deliver that NSROC doesn’t. Somehow, councils are supposed to retain their own staff, systems, policies, procedures, organisational culture, and service-levels to rate-payers – but are supposed to reach unanimous agreement for combined purchases of goods & services and to deliver other benefits that come with economies of scale. Of course, that brings the risk of inactivity or deferral of response from your council when you seek action because “we better put that to the JRA” sounds like a responsible excuse. Advocates claim that the JRA would deliver the benefits of amalgamation but without bringing the relevant area under the control of one real authority.

Making a submission to the Council Boundary Review that you believe council did not properly consult with residents during the local government reform process is absolutely a valid submission even for that reason alone. You can also tell the Council Boundary Review about examples of failures of your council, which highlight risks and problems that you would like the reform of local government to address. If you’d like to make a more comprehensive submission, to tell the state government what actually matters to you, or the end result you’d like to see – below is a list of criteria that are suggested (but not mandatory).
Submissions should refer directly to the proposal and submission authors are encouraged (but not required) to focus on one or more of the factors in section 263(3) of the Act, being:

  • the financial advantages or disadvantages of the proposal to the residents and ratepayers of the areas concerned;
  • the community of interest and geographic cohesion in the existing areas and in any proposed new area;
  • the existing historical and traditional values in the existing areas and the impact of change on them;
  • the attitude of the residents and ratepayers of the areas concerned;
  • the requirements of the area concerned in relation to elected representation for residents and ratepayers at the local level, the desirable and appropriate relationship between elected representatives and ratepayers and residents and such other matters as considered relevant in relation to the past and future patterns of elected representation for that area;
  • the impact of the proposal on the ability of the council to provide adequate, equitable and appropriate services and facilities;
  • the impact of the proposal on the employment of the staff by the council;
  • the impact of the proposal on any rural communities in the resulting area; 
  • the desirability (or otherwise) of dividing the resulting area or areas into wards
  • the need to ensure that the opinions of each of the diverse communities of the resulting area or areas are effectively represented; and
  • any other factors relevant to the provision of efficient and effective local government in the existing and proposed new areas.

Have a great weekend,
– from the team at Gladesville Community Group (inc).

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