01 January 2015

Amalgamations again

When the last round of Council amalgamations were proposed (1997), encouraged and almost enforced there was much discussion around cost saving for rate payers. To this date I have not seen any reports or studies that were completed after the amalgamations took place to show that there were any financial benefits to anybody.
So why are they again on the agenda?
This time it is a coalition of industry groups  (Industry coalition Advocating Council Reform) that are about to push their own self interest into the debate. They see small Councils and inconsistent regulations a barrier to investment.
Also on their agenda is on-line voting, better timing of elections and maximum terms for Councillors. (I don't have too many fundamental arguments against these)
I suggest that these comments are largely made from ignorance as most Councils have now been working for years toward using shared services and bigger contracts to get cheaper rates, eg rubbish collection, IT support, ranger service, environmental officers, etc.
I would like to see a comparison of the rate burden to each individual household depending on the size of Council. Are Council rates really less in  Salisbury, Port Adelaide or even Mitcham, especially for same value housing?
If you want some light reading on the subject you might like to read on.

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