Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Inner West De-merger business case - localisation in a large council

In my view (but I could be wrong as I was only a community member and not a councillor on Leichhardt Council), the business case assumes we have acheived all that was promised by the amalgamation and shows no understanding of the pain the community has endured and the reduction of services.

It is true that councillors now need to be across a larger area in the case of Gulgadya it extends from half of Annandale, to Croydon, taking in Haberfield and Leichhardt (suburb) as well as a part of Ashfield (suburb) along Parramatta Road. Half was in Leichhardt and the other half in Ashfield council with their very different policies and services.
Examples are:
  1. Scheduled vs Booked Pickups (even those in the Marrickville LGA are complaining about dumping and they loved their booked service)
  2. The selection of people for the so called "Local Democracy" groups the administrator set up to replace the open advisory committees (I was a regular at the Heritage Committee of Leichhardt Coucil and went along to a couple of Climate Change Taskforce Meetings to advocate for LED lighting) Ironically Local Street lighting switched to LED on my watch on Inner West Council.
  3. The loss of planning alerts (downgrade of Leichhardt Online DA system)
  4. To acheive economies of scale we need to have a one size fits all - but one size does not fit all when it comes to planning in particular, though as with planning, streetlighting, waste and even electricity we have to comply with/or change state laws and there is SSROC for shared services
  5. Operating Pools and Libraries as shared services is also debatable - collections and usage reflects the needs of a local community.
The draft business case states:
"The key benefits of de-amalgamation, that the community have assessed as worth the additional costs, include:
  • significantly improved local representation
  • a right to self-determination and the removal of an unpopular “forced amalgamation”
  • some perceived service level improvements and better alignment of communities of interest.
This business case presents two options for a de-amalgamation:
  • option A - pre-merger service levels - amending service levels to that provided prior to amalgamation
  • option B - current Inner West Council service levels.
  • A third option (option C) investigates shared services. This option has been discounted after a review of the literature indicated there was no significant or demonstrated benefit in shared services in NSW local government. However, certain shared service arrangements [such as the Shared Internal Ombudsman aka Complaints Officer] could provide marginal net benefit for particular services if managed closely and could be considered through business cases by the proposed de-amalgamated councils if the de-amalgamation goes ahead."
Recording of last Thursday's presentation of the business case is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY0ar7ANuok
The annual Micromex Survey on which community satisfaction with council is based (with additional questions about demerger business case) closes 31 July 2022 at https://yoursay.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/de-amalgamation

Monday, July 25, 2022

Low Carbon Precincts - Literature search

Bruny Island Battery Trial

"CONSORT is an ARENA funded research project and field trial, which addresses how batteries can be used by householders to manage their energy while simultaneously being used to help manage the network. During the trial, 34 battery systems were installed in homes on Bruny Island in Tasmania’s south-east. Working in conjunction with rooftop solar generation, these batteries are coordinated to alleviate congestion on Bruny’s undersea power supply cable and to reduce the reliance on costly and polluting diesel generation during peak season, helping to stabilise network voltages within acceptable levels, while simultaneously enabling householders to make optimal use of their own solar power generation." - https://brunybatterytrial.org/

Local Planning Panel Report 29 March - Parramatta Road Corridor (Stage 1 LEP Phase 2A) 

"Inner West Council Planning Proposal: Parramatta Road Corridor Stage – 1 (LEP2A) includes incentive provisions to enhance the performance of new developments in the Parramatta Road Corridor Urban Transformation Strategy (PRCUTS) Leichhardt, Taverners Hill and Kings Bay precincts. These requirements have been devised to implement the Parramatta Road Corridor Sustainability Implementation Plan and go one step further to enhance the building performance requirements where PRCUTS has gaps and can be improvised. The key purpose of this approach is to facilitate the implementing of PRCUTS sustainability objectives and ensure that current practise is enhanced, and future best practice is not precluded." -Appendix 10 - Parramatta Road Corridor High Performance Buildings Background Information (PDF 357.1KB)
Briefing Minutes - 15 February 2022 (PDF 161KB)

Briefing Minutes - 29 March 2022 (PDF 170.4KB)

Meeting Minutes - 29 March 2022 (PDF 175.2KB) (PDF 175.2KB)


Commencing at 12:30pm

Item 1 - Local Planning Panel Report - Parramatta Road Corridor (Stage 1 LEP Phase 2A)  (PDF 461.4KB)

Attachment 1 - Council's Planning Proposal (PDF 3.2MB)

Appendix 1 - Proposed LEP Maps  (PDF 37.6MB)

Appendix 2A - Architectus Leichhardt, Taverners Hill and Kings Bay Urban Design Review June 2021 (PDF 121.2MB)

Appendix 2B - Inner West Council's Draft Structure Plan October 2020  (PDF 30.8MB)

Appendix 2C - Leichhardt Council's Parramatta Road Urban Design Study 2016 (PDF 8.9MB)

Appendix 3 - Heritage Study and Inventory Sheets (PDF 62.7MB)

Appendix 4 - Economic Feasibility Assessment (PDF 3.4MB)

Appendix 5 - Flood Management  (PDF 1.5MB)

Appendix 6 - Preliminary Site Investigations (PDF 1.6MB)

Appendix 7 - Aircraft Noise Assessment (PDF 7.3MB)

Appendix 8 - Draft Affordable Housing Contribution Scheme (PDF 2.1MB)

Appendix 9 - Land Value Sharing Study (PDF 2.3MB)

Appendix 10 - Parramatta Road Corridor High Performance Buildings Background Information (PDF 357.1KB)

Appendix 11 - Parramatta Road Corridor Precinct-wide Traffic and Transport Study (PDF 45.7MB)

Appendix 12 - Parramatta Road Corridor Stage - 1 LEP Phase 2A Justification Study (PDF 1.7MB)

Appendix 13 - Parramatta Road Urban Amenity Improvement Plan (Inner West Council Masterplan) (PDF 14.3MB)

Appendix 14 - Parramatta Road Corridor Draft Infrastructure Schedule (Leichhardt Precinct) (PDF 225.2KB)

Source: https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/about/the-council/inner-west-local-planning-panel/2022-planning-panel-meetings/29-march-2022-inner-west-local-planning-panel 

Frankfurt Roadmap

"Frankfurt, a german pionner with a “100% renewable” roadmap: "With its “Masterplan 100% Klimaschutz”, the municipality aims to have all its energy needs covered by renewable energy by 2050. This will require reducing energy use by 50% through building retrofitting, the use of new technologies and further efforts at developing the circular economy. The remaining 50% will be covered by renewable energy produced within the city (25%) and in the metropolitan area (25%). To achieve these objectives, the plan assesses the energy needs, greenhouse gas emissions and areas for improvement in each sector and suggests a number of measures to be implemented in the electricity, heating and transport areas." https://energy-cities.eu/best-practice/frankfurt/

Ausgrid’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP)

Ausgrid’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is growing and you can be a part of this exciting and innovative demand management trial. This project will show us how the grid can integrate with renewables, partner with industry and customers to maximise grid efficiency benefits and reduce costs for customers. Ausgrid’s partnership with Reposit Power, Evergen and ShineHub has enabled us to offer more choice for hundreds and potentially thousands of customers to join Ausgrid's virtual power plant.  https://www.ausgrid.com.au/Industry/Demand-Management/Power2U-Progam/Battery-VPP-Trial

Low Carbon Precincts CRC

"Infrastructure changes in the built environment, resulting from the expected 60 per cent growth in Australia's population by 2050, will significantly influence and entrench the way we consume energy and our resulting carbon signature. The Low Carbon Precincts program focused on reducing the carbon footprint of urban systems, with key consideration being given to integrating the interlinked aspects of energy, water, waste, transport and buildings - all of which have significant carbon signatures as well as human health impacts."


Wednesday, July 13, 2022


Very pleased to have been a part of this in putting up motions to ensure Inner West Council waste does not end up being incinerated. Chris Hanson came to speak to council on the issue. See https://perambuler.ramin.com.au/2020/10/no-to-incineration-of-inner-west-waste.html


With the passing of the NSW EPA’s Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Thermal Energy from Waste) Regulation on Friday, residents of SE Sydney can now breathe easier. [https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/waste/waste-facilities/energy-recovery]
The amendments now form part of the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2021 and would prohibit Veolia’s (formerly Suez’s) proposal to burn waste at OPAL’s Matraville Paper Mill.
Last night, the local community who have waged war against Veolia ever since the proposal to build a waste incinerator at OPAL’s Matraville Paper Mill was first raised in 2019, learned that the proposal would not proceed.
The community wasn’t swayed by the promise of extra jobs or the supposed economic benefits given their concerns about the significant detrimental impacts of the proposal.
Some residents had even contemplated selling up and moving away from the area.
Residents were fully supported in their campaign by both Federal and State MPs and Randwick and Bayside Councils who unanimously opposed any incineration of waste due to the potential harmful impacts on the health of surrounding communities and the degradation of the environment.
The burning of “non-recyclable waste” to produce power or replacing a cleaner fuel e.g. natural gas with a dirtier one, will no longer be possible and the prohibition of Veolia’s incinerator is a great step forward for local communities.
While this is fantastic news for our local community, the new laws don’t preclude incinerators being built elsewhere. So, we will continue supporting communities fighting waste incinerators being built in their areas because the incineration of waste is a bad idea, period.
We now hope the newly elected Federal Labor Government will end the various subsidies to projects associated with the incineration of waste. We also need the NSW Government to follow through with its promises to promote a Circular Economy rather than promoting the incineration of waste as the only option.
No More Incinerators Inc is an apolitical community group formed to oppose polluting incinerators and promote a cleaner,
healthier environment.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

History of the Inner West Council

Fit for the Future Assessment  Summary (2015)

Administrator's End of Term Report (2017)

        10. Conclusion

There is no doubt that the State Government’s merger program has been a tumultuous one, and nowhere more so than in the Inner West. The hard edge approach to implementing the merger, involving the dismissal of councillors, as well as the contested planning and major State infrastructure environment in which it has occurred has made it so. 
Nonetheless, I think it is time for us to stop thinking we have been punished by being merged and to use it is an opportunity to realise real benefits for the people of the Inner West. We have a strong community of interest and I believe this is a solid basis for the new council to make its mark. 
We have already in our first 16 months achieved many tangible benefits for the community,including:
  • an inherited budget deficit of $4.8 million cleared in the first 12 months
  • $2.5 million in annual savings in executive salaries and insurances locked in, with predicted savings of $60 million over our first 10 years;
  • an Investment Policy which will make us the leading non-fossil fuel investment council in NSW, with our June 2018 target of 70% already achieved;
  • a record $22 million more spent on infrastructure in our first full financial year, with a similar result expected in 2017/18;
  • an extra $14 million in infrastructure funding received from the State Government, to be spent over our first three years enabling our ageing infrastructure to be upgraded;
  • evidence that we are having greater influence in major State planning and infrastructure decisions, including for Parramatta Road, affordable housing and WestConnex;
  • great progress on creating a modern, high performing customer-focussed organisation, with preliminary figures showing a 5% improvement in our customer satisfaction rating (Micromex 2017) from 85% to 90% in our first year of operation.
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 theState 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. 


Dec 4 Poll Result (2021)

People voted to deamalgamate across the Inner West.
Vote across Polling Booths Yes: Blue  No:Red

Demerger Business  Case 2022

Council has engaged Morrison Low to prepare a business case in accordance with NSW Government guidelines. Morrison Low had undertaken substantial work for Council in 2015 with the development of the high level merger business cases of the former three Councils and in 2021 developing a high level cost benefit analysis (Attachment 3: 2021 business case (PDF 1.5MB)executive summary (PDF 154.8KB) and community engagement report (PDF 673.3KB)).

The 2021 Morrison Low report:

    • Reviewed the former councils' 2014/15 Long Term Financial Plans
    • Re-established previous financial models of the former councils undertaken in 2015 and previous modelling to 19/20
    • Validated the models against the Councils that didn't merge (Burwood, Canada Bay, Strathfield)
    • Compared 19/20 actual results of Inner West with the aggregated modelled position of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville
    • Added changes in service levels and new industry compliance requirements, new assets, COVID-19 impacts to these models with a start date of July 2022...



Councils are guided by a range of laws, regulations and policies to support them to make good decisions that will create positive outcomes for their local communities. Councils must comply with laws and mandatory policies or guidelines. Councils should comply or take into consideration, many other policies and guidelines to conform to best practice when making decisions on behalf of their communities.

Acts and Regulations

Local councils must comply with various Acts and Regulations. The Office of Local Government administers, or shares responsibility for administering, the following:


New South Wales Consolidated Acts


Local government

51 Local government

(1) There shall continue to be a system of local government for the State under which duly elected or duly appointed local government bodies are constituted with responsibilities for acting for the better government of those parts of the State that are from time to time subject to that system of local government.
(2) The manner in which local government bodies are constituted and the nature and extent of their powers, authorities, duties and functions shall be as determined by or in accordance with laws of the Legislature.
(3) The reference in subsection (2) to laws of the Legislature shall be read as a reference to laws that have been enacted by the Legislature, whether before or after the commencement of this section, and that are for the time being in force.
(4) For the purposes of this section, each of the following is taken to be a local government body--
(a) for the Western Division (as defined in the Crown Land Management Act 2016 )--any person with all or any of the functions of a local government body in relation to any part of the State in that Division,
(b) for Lord Howe Island--the Lord Howe Island Board,
(c) an administrator with all or any of the functions of a local government body.



Dietitions exhibition at RPA

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