Monday, June 27, 2022

ALGA NGA June 2022


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Recap on Road Safety in the Inner West (LGA)

Parramatta Rd, Annandale

Recapping on road safety in the Inner West.

Balmain Peninsular has had a blanket 40k speed limit on their roads forever.

Parramatta Rd, Annandale

There are also several High Pedestrian Activity Areas, with 40k speed limits, which were implemented by Leichhardt Council - Booth St, Annandale; Norton St, Leichhardt and Styles St, Leichhardt. 

Numerous 40k School Limits apply across the State including in the Inner West LGA including on what are 50 and 60k roads outside the School Zone hours. For example on Fort St High, Parramatta Rd and Annandale Public on Johnston St.

Parramatta Rd, Stanmore
State Roads (Parramatta Rd, Victoria Rd Rozelle, Liverpool Road, Ashfield, City West Link, Haberfield/Lilyfield, Crystal St and Stanmore Rd, Petersham) in the LGA have a 60kmph speed limit. There are parts of City West Link which had and have a speed limit of 70kmph. There are footpaths and even shared paths adjacent to these roads.

Johnston St., Annandale

The speed limit on some State Roads has been reduced to 50kmph (eg Darley Rd, Leichhardt, Johnston St, Annandale and yet to be implemented Frederick St, Ashfield after a Pedestrian was killed on the crossing at John St)

Nelson St, Annandale at Parramatta Rd

The speed limit on other roads and laneways in the Inner West remains at 50kmph despite approval been given to reduce the speed on local residential roads to 40kmph.

Footpath, Annandale

The wisdom emerging is that 30kmph is a safer speed to implement and there have been calls for this to be implemented on roads which are shared by buses, trucks, cars, bicycles and posibly other mobility devices. 

speed hump driveway commuter carpark, Ashfield

We have footpaths on most of our streets but not our laneways, so pedestrians only come into conflict with others when crossing a road or driveway.

But some footpaths are narrow eg the new shared path along Parramatta Rd Ashfield between Orpinton and  Bland Sts. 

Parramatta Rd, Ashfield

Pedestrian Crossing driveway commuter carpark, Ashfield

Pedestrian Refuge, Crystal St, Petersham

Edwin St, Croydon
"Research shows 30km/h speed limits on local residential streets could reduce the Australian road death toll by 13%. The economic benefit would be about A$3.5 billion every year. " -Busted: 5 myths about 30km/h speed limits in Australia, Published: May 20, 2021 5.56am AEST

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Statement from the Heart forum at Marrickville

It was an honour for Inner West Council to host an Uluru Statement from the Heart Forum last Thursday in Marrickville Hall.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart asks for "constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country."

Voice Treaty and Truth 

Welcome to Country from Aunty Deb Lenis

Following the welcome to Country by Aunty Deb Lenis, Linda Burney, Wiradjuri Nation, Minister for Indigenous Australians addressed the crowd and those watching online. Linda Burney said, 

Minister Linda Burney

“The Uluru Statement is an incredibly generous invitation to the Australian people to walk together with First Nations people and the journey begins in Marrickville with a packed out Town Hall on Thursday night.”



Dean Parkin addresses the forum

Dean Parkin,
Quandamooka peoples, Director, From the Heart  reminded us that this was addressed to the people of Australia and not to governments.

Senator Patrick Dodson, a Yawuru man
wrapped up by explaining the called for change to the Australian Constitution to enshrine the Voice required a YES vote from a majority of States as well as individuals across the Federation.


With Uncle Alan Madden, Gadigal Elder

Crowd Marrickville Townhall

With Frank Panucci, FILEF

with Julian Charters and Clr Liz Atkins








If you missed the Inner West Council Forum last Thursday a recording (including Minister Burney reading out the statement)  is available on youtube at

In July 2018 I attendended a forum at Twitter Head Quarters in Sydney as part of NAIDOC Week on the theme #BecauseOfHerWeCan which was part of the circuit of the Uluru Statement with signatures and artwork on Canvas!

Finding the Heart of the Nation : Journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth - Thomas Mayor

"Finding the Heart of the Nation The Journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth by Thomas Mayor is a book for all Australians.

Since the Uluru Statement from the Heart was formed in 2017, Thomas Mayor has travelled around the country to promote its vision of a better future for Indigenous Australians. He’s visited communities big and small, often with the Uluru Statement canvas rolled up in a tube under his arm.

Through the story of his own journey and interviews with 20 key people, Thomas taps into a deep sense of our shared humanity. The voices within these chapters make clear what the Uluru Statement is and why it is so important. And Thomas hopes you will be moved to join them, along with the growing movement of Australians who want to see substantive constitutional change.

Thomas believes that we will only find the heart of our nation when the First peoples – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders – are recognised with a representative Voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution."..

There is also Finding Our Heart - A Story about the Uluru Statement for Young Australians By: Thomas Mayor, Blak Douglas (Illustrator)

Finding Our Heart : A Story about the Uluru Statement for Young Australians - Thomas Mayor

Because of Her we Can, Twitter HQ, Sydney, July 2018

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

speed limit on Frederick Street

Yay the speed limit on Frederick Street is going to reduce from 60-50kmph (late July/August) - still needs to go further but it has taken a tragic death for this to happen.
Council Meeting 12 October 2017
Item No: C1017 Item 15
Subject: Notice of Motion: Pedestrian Safety on Frederick Street, Ashfield
File Ref: 17/4718
From Councillor Marghanita Da Cruz
THAT Council through the Traffic Committee urgently investigate and report on the significant safety risks at pedestrian crossings on Frederick Street with a particular emphasis on the Frederick/John St crossing and provide recommendations on how these risks can be addressed. These recommendations to include consideration of a reduction in the speed limit on Frederick Street and the introduction of traffic calming at the pedestrian crossings on Frederick Street as well as proposals to prevent vehicles overtaking cars turning right near the pedestrian crossings. The report should include a proposed timeline for works and proposed prioritisation of funding for the works.
A number of residents have contacted me regarding the danger of the pedestrian crossings on Frederick Street Ashfield, particularly the one at the intersection with John Street. This has been the site of numerous accidents and near misses when cars try to overtake other cars waiting to turn right into Frederick or John Streets.
There are a number of parks, the swimming pool, train station and school on the western side of Frederick Street. To access these, residents including children and the elderly need to negotiate Frederick Street.
May be an image of tree and road
Photo Damage caused by car crashing into fencing at JM McCarthey Playground at intersection of John and Frederick Sts Ashfield

My first three motions to council (12 Oct 2017)

first two done now for the third!

14. Notice of Motion: Pedestrian Safety on Croydon Road, Croydon Recommendation Minute
15. Notice of Motion: Pedestrian Safety on Frederick Street, Ashfield Recommendation Minute
16. Notice of Motion: Pedestrian Safety in Haberfield and Leichhardt Recommendation Minute


A new draft Tree DCP is now on exhibition. There was a fiasco when the last DCP was adopted with Lib/Lab councilllors putting in a slew of amendments from the floor (without advice from officers)
Main Changes 
  • distance from a dwelling for exempt trees has been reduced from 2m to 1m (leichhardt council had 0m and previously innerwest council officers recommended 0.5m)
  • the height in the definition of a prescribed tree has been reduced to 4m from 6m (a prescribed tree is: i. any tree with a height equal to or greater than 6 metres above ground level (existing))
  •  the applications and processes have been made legal (current Tree DCP has a number of illegal clauses and associated processes which conflict with state law - inconsistent with the NSW Vegetation SEPP and the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act.)
  • the "weed" species list has been reduced from the 2020 Tree DCP [draft C7 Exempt Species List - Council approval is not required to remove species outlined in this list. Consent is required if the tree is a listed item, part of a listed item orlocated in a heritage conservation area (HCA) see C2.] . 2020 DCP (Tree management DCP_amended version 7 October 2021 v2.) at
Please provide your feedback by July 3

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Cost of Amalgamation

62.5% of voters choose de-amalgamation


more at

Inner West Council de-amalgamation cost benefit report

Friday 3 September 2021

Inner West Council is asking the community for feedback on an independent de-amalgamation cost benefit report.

Recently, the NSW Parliament passed legislation that made it possible for Councils to put forward a business case for de-amalgamation. It remains at the discretion of the Local Government Minister whether to de-amalgamate councils.

At the Local Government elections on 4 December 2021, Inner West citizens will be asked whether to support separating the one Inner West Council into the three original councils of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville.

To assist in informing the community Council commissioned an independent report from consultants Morrison Low about the cost and benefits of de-amalgamation

Morrison Low is the same consultant who prepared the previous case for the former councils against amalgamations.

Read the summary (PDF 154.8KB) of de amalgamation report or the full report (PDF 1.5MB).

Source viewed 5 June 2022

Administrator's report August 2017 

        "Merger savings
In our first full year of operation we have achieved savings of $2.5 million from a reduction in executive salaries ($1.5 million) and savings on insurances ($1 million). In the executive area (Tier 1 and 2), we have gone from a staff of 14 for the three constituent councils to a staff of four. These savings are annual savings which are locked in every year going forward. The annual savings of $2.5 million have initially been spent on eliminating a budget deficit but will ultimately go towards enhanced services.
Whilst it can be argued that $2.5 million in savings is relatively modest for an organisation with an annual budget of $250 million, it is a good start. Our projection is that over the first 10 years of the merger we are on track to realise savings of $60 million if current operating policies are maintained.
As we have so far locked in $25 million of the projected 10-year savings of $60 million, there clearly remains more work to be done by Council on achieving the additional savings going forward." 
"An area where Council is having greater success is in the area of public transport solutions for Parramatta Road. In late 2016, the State Government released ambitious renewal plans for Parramatta Road which included 27,000 new homes and 50,000 new jobs; yet without a proper public transport solution, the Government only committing to a rapid bus system." 
"One of the key findings from our first community satisfaction survey (Micromex 2016), was that the community did not feel they had a great ability to influence Council’s decision making. There are a number of reasons for this, most obviously the dismissal of elected representatives (which I have attempted to resolve through the IAG and LRAC committees described above), but also the fact that Inner West Council Administrator’s the committee structures of our constituent councils dropped away with proclamation of the new Inner West Council.
In response to this, I established a series of Strategic Reference Groups earlier this year to provide an outlet for motivated community members to have a real say in the policy setting of Council. This followed an extensive Expression of Interest process where 160 applications were received. These groups span Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; Social Inclusion; Economic Development; Housing and Affordability; Transport; Environment; Planning and Heritage; and Young Leaders.
I believe this to be a very good model for ensuring that the community contributes to Council " 
"ICT system Of all of the infrastructure required to bring together three separate organisations, integrated ICT systems are the most critical, impacting how information flows across the organisation and ultimately efficiency and productivity. At the time of the merger more than 250 systems were in use across the three constituent councils and only a very small proportion of the systems were comparable.
Since then much ground has been covered to bring the three organisations into one from an ICT perspective. Infrastructure is in place joining the three former council networks, facilitating communication across all sites and staff mobility. A number of key drivers have been central in the ICT decision making processes, including improved services, cost and operational effectiveness.
Wherever possible cloud based solutions are being implemented to improve flexibility, mobility and effective disaster management.
Council’s single largest ICT project is a new enterprise wide management system, known as One Council. The two year implementation program is on track to be completed by December 2018 and will see most Council functions operating out of a single integrated system, including core functions such as customer request management, rates, development applications, Council’s financial reporting and management of all of our community assets. Having one integrated system reduces" - 
Merged council says it followed procurement rules over $9m IT contract

"Whilst new councillors are likely to have a more focussed approach on the traditional issues of local government, I urge them not to forget the ability to do bigger things with a bigger council – whether it be spending more on our parks, roads and footpaths, or leveraging better outcomes from the State Government. I wish all new councillors well in the important work they have ahead of them.
Finally, I would also like to sincerely thank the 1250 men and women who make up Inner West Council for their support and camaraderie during my 16 months at the helm. I have found them to be a highly professional and responsive group and consider the Council to be in great hands for sustained success in the future." 
The head count of Staff at Inner West Council is now around 1400...


The Inner West Council was formed by the amalgamation of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils on 12 May 2016.

Tim Morrison and Low was engaged to examine the costs of the Merger and they estimated a cost of $44.5m.***

The merged council received $10million towards implementing the amalgamation and permitted to make claims for 

  • the Provision of expert implementation advice
  • ICT systems Integration
  • Redundancy Payments to staff
  • Signage for the new council
  • Change management programs
  • Cost of System Upgrades

At 30 September 2017 the total expenditure was $6,826,000 and the estimated cost to complete the amalgamation was $3,575,000 putting the total cost at $10,401,000.

Source: Item No: C1017 Item 5, Subject: MERGER IMPLEMENTATION COSTS , File Ref: 17 / 4718, Agenda Council Meeting 31 October 2017

***Inner West Councils Fit for the Future - Shared Modelling - Tim Morrison and Low

"The Independent Review Panel recommended a merger of Ashfield, Burwood, City of Canada Bay, Leichhardt, Marrickville and Strathfield Councils. The government has asked each council in NSW to respond to Fit for the Future by using the Panel recommendation as a starting point."

February 2015

Inner West Council spends $9.4m on IT contracts, but says no tender was needed

"The council, under the control of administrator Richard Pearson, said its estimate of $5 million in IT costs remained accurate. Part of the $9.4 million contract with TechnologyOne included annual fees of $1.6 million for software licensing and hardware which replaced existing IT costs incurred by the council."  

Planning Instruments


Tree DCP

Harmonisation of Policies as of 14 December 2020

  • 43 Inner West  Policies
  • 33 Leichhardt Policies
  • 60 Ashfield Policies
  • 35 Marrickville Policies

Harmonised Rates

10 November 2020 Minutes

"C1120(1) Items 1 and 14      Harmonisation of Rates

Motion: (Drury/Steer)

THAT Council:

1.    Notes that the  NSW  Government  is requiring all amalgamated councils to harmonise rates by an arbitrary date (1 July 2021). This is despite the fact that the harmonisation of rates and services is a difficult process for a council that is the amalgam of 3;

2.    Has commenced harmonising other charges and is in the process of harmonising service standards across the LGA.  To compel the Inner West Council to harmonise rates prior to further progress on the harmonisation of services will lead to anomalies; 

3.    Has been calling on the NSW Government  to allow us to transition to its final preferred rating structure over a number of years, acting to  ‘smooth out’ the negative impacts to ratepayers and to align it with our service sat and harmonisation;

4.    Understand that the Minister is working on this and a bill may be brought to parliament later this year.  Given the Council wants to introduce a minimum rate we are advised we must submit to IPART requires us to submit a Minimum Rate Application by 8 February 2021.  With this timetable we will not have time properly engage in community consultation; 

5.    Note that the Minister has said that the NSW Government remains committed to assisting each new council to identify a path to undertake rating harmonisation that is appropriate to the needs of different local communities. This includes allowing each council to equalise rates gradually over time across their local government area;

6.    Call on the Minister to show her commitment to assist and urgently intervene to allow the Inner West Council a transitional arrangement; 

7.    Place on public exhibition the Proposed Rating Structure (categories, sub-categories) as recommended in the report for community engagement;

8.    Place on public exhibition the new Minimum Rates as recommended in the report, for community engagement; 

9.    Place on public exhibition reallocation of Ashfield Mall, Leichhardt Marketplace and Norton Street Plaza from Business General to Business Malls and the redistribution of rates income from Business General to Business Malls as recommended in the report, for community engagement;

10.  Commences community consultation on the proposed rating structure including examples for each of the three former local government areas that shows the increase or decrease in rates for the lowest rates, middle rates and highest rates of each category eg Marrickville lowest rate was $700.00 would now be $720.00 etc; and 

11.  Staff report to Council on progress at all following Council meetings until iPart deadline of 1 April 2021.

Motion Carried

For Motion: Crs Byrne, Da Cruz, Drury, Hesse, Iskandar, Kiat, Lockie, Macri, McKenna OAM, Porteous, Raciti, Steer and York

Against Motion:          Crs Passas and Stamolis

Amendment (Steer/Da Cruz) 

THAT the plan be amended to place on exhibition a minimum rate of $710.

Motion Lost

For Motion:     Crs Da Cruz, Iskandar, Passas, Stamolis and Steer

Against Motion:  Crs Byrne, Drury, Hesse, Kiat, Lockie, Macri, McKenna OAM, Porteous, Raciti and York

Foreshadowed Motion (Stamolis/Passas) 

THAT Council defer this item until:

1.    A fully amended data report is provided;

2.    Broader data comparisons across the three previous Councils are provided;

3.    Comparisons with nearby Councils are provided; and

4.    A broader analysis of the impact on ratepayers of adjusting the minimum rate to $850.

This Foreshadowed Motion lapsed.

Report to Council 8 December 2020: "The rates harmonisation community engagement will commence in early December and run through to Sunday 7 February 2021.  Promotion includes a flyer to be mailed to all ratepayers, a project page on Your Say Inner West including fact sheets and translated material in top five community languages, and inclusion in all Council communication channels.  Ratepayers will be able to access specific information about the impact of the new minimum rate on their property through a rates calculator on our website." - Report to Council Meeting 8 December 2020" Agenda 8 December 2020

Thursday, June 2, 2022

  • "The report shows that twenty-one high risk matters related to asset management, 14 related to IT and seven related to financial reporting.
    The remainder were around governance, accounting, purchasing and payables, and cash and banking."

    Fast facts

    • 150 councils and joint organisations in the sector
    • 99% unqualified audit opinions issued for the 30 June 2020 financial statements
    • 490 monetary misstatements were reported in 2019-20
    • 61 prior period errors reported
    • 53 high risk management letters findings identified
    • 49% of reported issues were repeat issues
    • Highlights

    • The Office of Local Government within the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (OLG) extended the statutory deadline for councils and joint organisations to lodge their audited financial statements by an additional month to 30 November 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • One hundred and thirty-three councils and joint organisations (2019: 117) lodged audited financial statements with the OLG by the revised statutory deadline of 30 November (2019: 30 October). Sixteen (2019: 30) councils received extensions to submit audited financial statements to OLG. Canberra Region Joint Organisation did not submit their audited financial statements by the statutory deadline and did not formally apply for extension before the deadline lapsed.
    • Unqualified audit opinions were issued for 127 councils, nine county councils and 13 joint organisation audits in 2019–20. A qualified audit opinion was issued for Central Coast Council.
    • Unqualified audit opinions were issued for the 2018–19 financial audits of Hilltops, MidCoast and Murrumbidgee Councils, which were not completed at the time of tabling the 'Local Government 2019' report in Parliament.
    • The total number and dollar value of corrected and uncorrected financial statement errors increased compared with the prior year.
    • Sixty-eight councils did not record rural fire fighting equipment in their financial statements worth $119 million. The NSW Government has confirmed these assets are not controlled by the NSW Rural Fire Service and are not recognised in the financial records of the NSW Government.
    • The total number of prior period financial statement errors increased from 59 in the prior year to 61, but the total dollar value of the errors decreased from $1,272 million to $813 million.
    • Councils implemented three new accounting standards in 2019–20 relating to revenue and leases.

    Inner West Council(ongoing finding)

    In 2018–19, council did not sufficiently complete a quality review of the asset revaluation process.
    In 2019–20, council was not required to perform a comprehensive revaluation for any asset classes, so council could not address the finding during 2019–20. The finding will remain ongoing until the next revaluation is performed...
    Inner West Council
    Due to the impact of COVID-19, council closed its aquatic centre and
    received less revenue from childcare. It also received less section 94 fees,
    parking fines and other fees. User fees and charges were $32.7 million
    compared to the budget of $46.0 million. However, this was partially offset
    by grants for childcare from the government. Council’s operating grants and
    contributions were $17.0 million compared to a budget of $10.6 million. ..

    Councils have budgets in the millions and councillors rely on officers - the real challenge is that OLG needs to step up and provide support for the officers and ultimately councillors. 
    OLG says it is a big body of work to get better reporting and LGNSW Special Conference 2022 78 Business Paper (Nov 21) pg 79: 

    "X4 Byron Shire Council Template governance tools

    That Local Government NSW advocates to the NSW Government that it works with councils and funds the development of template governance tools to enhance transparency and performance reporting including:
    a) A dashboard summary reporting tool tracking progress against objectives as set out in key planning documents - community strategic plan, financial plan and budget, residential land use and other strategies etc; and
    b) A consolidated State Government relationship reporting tool tracking all ‘live’ issues and projects between an LGA and State Government across all portfolio areas including grant applications, policy / project proposals, state government- initiated projects etc.
    Note from Council
    Council websites include an abundance of plans, reports, and data, which are invaluable for councillors, staff, consultants and other stakeholders. For most residents and rate payers the information provided on performance and progress against objectives could be collated and summarised. The core business of councils is common and a template could provide useful summary data against objectives (targets) on revenue and surpluses, housing approvals, financial ratios, road works, sewerage and water, visitor numbers etc.
    The reporting tool would complement existing reports to residents and ratepayers on how rates are spent with a snapshot of how council spends money and performs at a macro level.
    The relationship between councils and state government is fundamental to local government. Reporting on that relationship tends to be project based or piecemeal. Local government is a statutory creation of state
    government and can be seen as an extension of it. Residents and rate payers are aware of the interaction between state and local government but perhaps not its full depth or significance. Projects, funding decisions
    and changes to law or policy tend to be reported ‘one-off’. Most residents and rate payers would benefit from receiving an integrated picture of the relationship between their local council and state government.

    The use of a consolidated reporting tool can also assist decision makers in adopting a more holistic approach to decision-making seeing the ‘cross-portfolio’ connections between issues, for example housing, transport and
    Note from LGNSW
    This motion is operational and LGNSW will seek the NSW Government's support to develop these tools. The Office of Local Government's Your Council website ( already provides key data on
    councils’ demographic, socio-economic, financial sustainability, infrastructure, expenditure, rating, community leadership and core council services. This website could be further expanded to meet this motion's objectives." 

Dietitions exhibition at RPA

Exhibition about Dietitions at Royal Prince Alfred hospital by their museum. "RPA Museum Founded in 1933, th...