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Interim GM Greg Dyer, Administrator Amanda Chadwick, Local Government Minister Paul Toole and Geoff Lee. Interim GM Greg Dyer, Administrator Amanda Chadwick, Local Government Minister Paul Toole and Geoff Lee.
12 June 2016 Posted by 


Controversial, but better efficiencies

By Geoff Lee
State Member for Parramatta

LAST month, the NSW Government took the controversial decision to amalgamate a number of councils, creating 19 new local councils.

The boundaries for these new councils have been redefined to better reflect ‘communities of interest’ and to ensure the future of Greater Sydney will be properly planned for the next century.

Many local council boundaries were established last century and have not changed for decades. When first drawn, the boundaries reflected a very different Sydney. Today, Greater Sydney is approaching five million residents.

This growth has resulted in strong residential demand, growing population centres and the need for government at all levels to plan and deliver the infrastructure to cope with this growth.

There is no doubt, council amalgamations have been controversial.

But the NSW Government is committed to making local government more efficient so it can give better services and infrastructure to the community.

As communities grow and change the councils also need to grow and change – no longer a city of isolated areas, we needed new councils to reflect the changing makeup of the city and to better deliver for our communities.

We need economies of scale, stronger resourced councils with the financial credibility and strength to deliver the infrastructure needed in our communities.

There has been a huge backlog of infrastructure across many councils in NSW, and rising debts as council’s have been too small to achieve those economies of scale that are needed to provide services – the amalgamations will see council’s placed on sustainable financial footings and that backlog will begin to clear.

Councillors in amalgamated councils have been stood down and new administrators have been appointed.

The challenge for the administrators will be to ensure the seamless transition of council services to the new councils, approval of merit-based development applications and transfer of public assets from one council to the new council.

After attending many public forums and speaking to residents, there are some genuine concerns. Some people have strong affiliations and are very happy with their local council and do not want to change. Others are concerned that they may be forgotten by their new council.

A part of the City of Parramatta Council’s new boundaries takes in Westmead, Silverwater, Olympic Park, and Wentworth Point. This economic ribbon is identified in the state’s Metropolitan Plan as an economic jobs and knowledge corridor for Western Sydney.

Premier Mike Baird said: “Our plan to transform Parramatta to become a true economic and cultural powerhouse of NSW will be greatly enhanced by the new council’s ability to deliver better services and infrastructure across the city.”

The new City of Parramatta Council places some of Western Sydney’s strongest economic assets all within the new council area - Parramatta CBD, multiple WSU campuses and the UNE city campus, the site of the future Powerhouse Museum and arts and cultural precinct, Parramatta Stadium and the sporting precinct, the Westmead bio-medical precinct, the up and coming Camelia Precinct including an expanded Rosehill Gardens, Olympic Park, the North Parramatta Heritage Precinct and Rydalmere Technology Park.

In addition, the majority of Parramatta Light Rail will connect Westmead, Parramatta CBD and Camellia to Olympic Park.

The Light Rail will be more than public transport, it will be a catalyst for development along the route and will shape the way our city develops. Dealing with one council, the City of Parramatta Council, will help ensure smooth delivery with less bureaucratic red-tape.

Premier Mike Baird estimated that we have $8 billion of public and private redevelopment coming on-line in the Parramatta CBD, and that the success of Western Sydney over the next 5 to 10 years will influence the prosperity of our nation.

Parramatta is identified as a key economic hub in the NSW Government’s Metropolitan Plan. Jobs in Parramatta are estimated to double from 50,000 to 100,000 in 25 years.

The Westmead Bio-medical precinct is set to rapidly expand to 25,000 jobs and the almost completed WSU city campus will accommodate 10,000 students. The Camelia Precinct will transform industrial wasteland into a brand new water-front suburb.

Parramatta Council has some of Western Sydney’s most significant public infrastructure – a single council makes the area simpler to manage with less red tape and a centralised management of the whole Parramatta economic zone.

There is no doubt Parramatta is on the up and up, and it only makes sense that we have a strong, credible and well-resourced council to ensure Parramatta reaches it potential. 



Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.