Sunday, June 5, 2022

Cost of Amalgamation

62.5% of voters choose de-amalgamation


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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

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