Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (12:02):
That the Senate-
(a) notes that:
(i) the Federal Government will give over $2.6 billion in grants to local governments in 2015 16, and this amount is frozen until at least 2017 18, cutting $287 million from local councils' budgets,
(ii) the New South Wales State Government is proposing to dramatically reduce the number of councils through amalgamations in its 'Fit for the Future' process,
(iii) the New South Wales Office of Local Government has not produced any evidence to support the notion that amalgamations produce lower council rates, and
(iv) local councils are closest to the community and are in the best position to identify and respond to the needs of the community, and in each jurisdiction where forced amalgamations have been imposed on communities, residents have faced significant rate increases and diminished local representation; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to write to the New South Wales State Government demanding it abandon the 'Fit for the Future' process and support the right of communities to determine the future of their own local councils through municipal wide referendums.