Hornsby Shire takes another step towards reform

State government to fund possible merger

Mayor Steve Russell with Councillor Gurdeep Singh

Hornsby Shire Council is on the path to being Fit For The Future, following last week’s meeting where Council unanimously voted to move forward with the NSW Government’s plans for reform.

A steering committee will now be formed, comprising the mayor and three councillors, that will begin discussions with neighbouring councils about the possibility of Hornsby Shire merging with one or more of them.

The unavoidable reality is that local government is not sustainable as it currently stands and that action is needed

“The unavoidable reality is that local government is not sustainable as it currently stands and that action is needed,” Hornsby Shire Mayor Steve Russell said.

“The good news for Hornsby Shire is that we are in a much better position than most councils and that we already meet five of the eight criteria that have been set by the NSW Government under the Fit For The Future agenda.

“However, that is not enough to excuse us from doing our part to help reform local government.”

The NSW Government’s recommendation is that Hornsby Shire voluntarily merge with Ku-ring-gai Shire to form a population of around 280,000 people, for which the Government would provide $10.5 million to help the transition.

“The next stage is for Council to prepare a roadmap outlining how we intend to fulfil the Government’s objectives, which we hope to create in cooperation with our neighbours,” Mayor Russell said.

“As we put that roadmap together there will be an opportunity for the community to become involved and have their say about where they think we should be heading.

“In the meantime I hope Local Government New South Wales becomes more supportive of reform, as myself and the other councillors were unhappy with the lack of meaningful discussion at their recent annual conference.”

At the meeting Council also voted to write to the association, asking it to demonstrate how the association will improve the relevance of the annual conference.

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