The Greens Support De-Amalgamation of Inner West Council

The Greens believe that local residents have a right to decide how they are governed. Despite strong community opposition, in 2016 the NSW Liberal Government formed the Inner West Council by forcefully amalgamating Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville councils. This was highly undemocratic.

The Greens NSW policy supports residents of any former council area that has been forcibly amalgamated to have a binding referendum on de-amalgamation. 

At this election, residents will finally get to have their say on whether they want to go back to the three previous councils, or stay as the Inner West. The amended Local Government Amendment Act 2021 makes provisions for the NSW Government to fund the cost of de-amalgamation

The following question will be put forward as a poll on December 4:

“In May 2016, Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville councils were amalgamated into one local government area by the NSW Government. Do you support the Inner West local government area being de-amalgamated, so as to restore the former local government areas of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville?”

The Inner West Greens support de-amalgamation. We want to restore local democracy. Under the amalgamated Council services have deteriorated. The promised efficiencies from the merger to free up spending for services and community programs have not been realised. Instead the performance of Council has declined and there have been significant cost blow-outs. Strong community dissatisfaction with the merger remains after five years. Many residents complain of a reduction in services and reduced localisation

The Inner West local government area is too large for effective representation and as such there has been a dramatic fall in community representation (Councillors / population ratio). The merger has seen the creation of large wards with reduced councillor representation. Running candidates in an amalgamated mega-council favours well-resourced, larger political parties. The merger has negatively impacted communities of interest and community cohesion. Council debt has increased and rates will increase in some areas as a result of rate harmonisation across the three Council areas.

Bigger Councils are not better. 

  • Prior to amalgamation Councils were already working together on efficiencies such as joint service delivery. Shared services such as information technology, library services and waste collection. These efficiencies would continue to be realised if Council is de-amalgamated. 
  • Bring the ‘Local’ back to Local Council! 
  • There would be a greater number of Councillors per resident compared to current representation. 
  • Prior to amalgamation, research indicated high satisfaction rates among residents for Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville councils.  
  • The costs associated with a de-amalgamation would be fully funded by the NSW State Government (subject to a business case).
  • Council meetings would be located closer to where residents live providing greater access for some of the local community.
  • There would be an increased ability to work at the grassroots level with community and representative groups, and develop a stronger understanding of local issues and opportunities.
  • De-amalgamation offers the potential opportunity to reset Council direction.

Whatever the outcome of the poll on December 4 the Greens will accept the outcome. We will continue to work hard for residents and ensure an effective and democratic Council where residents’ voices are heard.