News & Discussion: Council Amalgamations

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AtD
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Re: #ARTICLE: Council Amalgamation

#31 Post by AtD » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:48 pm

The current system creates a lot of problems. The Parklands is the most prominent example. There are seven councils other than the ACC who border the parklands and therefore whose constituents receive benefit from living near the parklands. These councils receive higher rates as a direct result as rates are tied to property values.

Only the ACC pays anything into maintenance or facilities and the other seven get a free ride. The inevitable result we have today is a huge amount of under-utilised space because most of it is in rather poor condition. This large blight on our city is directly due to the large number of councils.

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Re: #ARTICLE: Council Amalgamation

#32 Post by peachy » Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:22 am

What (if any) would be the downsides?
here are some things i thought may be negatives,

With one central council is there a chance that that council would, say, focus too much on particular suburbs and neglect others,
for example they may further focus on Glenelg as the premier beach suburb to the detriment of Henley. Where as two council would have one with Glenelg interests and the other with Henley's. I guess a good example of a duel beach council is Holdfast bay with Brighton and Glenelg. Do Brighton residents think Glenelg gets too much of the attention/events/investment? I guess another example is the different restaurant strips in the city (Gouger/Hutt/Rundle etc), they all operate under the same council and vy for that councils attention/events/investment and co-exist successfully. I would just hate though if a super council then caused different surburban hubs to die as the one council becomes focused only on certain areas. ie it keeps giving money to the Parade such that King William road shrink significantly, where as at the moment Norwood would fight for the parade and Unley for King Will and events will be more likely to be shared. But i guess this is why you would have councillors elected from different wards, ie to have a council each to fight for the parade and king will. I think if different key Adelaide suburbs were to lose their identity it would be a heavy price to the city as a whole. Not that i'm saying this would happen if the supercouncel happened, just wondering whether i need worry about the possibility of it happening.

Also I wonder whether if i should have a say in what happens to a place that i dont live near. Personally in some circumstance i think yes, for example i use the city everyday (spend just as much time there as i do at home minus sleeping time) and wouldn't mind a say in how it is run. Also i frequently use roads, shops, libraries, in neighbouring councils so how they are run affects me. But i dont know if i should have a right to say whether for example(hypothetically) an apartment block should be built in the hills as i dont live in the area or visit it on a regular basis thus it wont affect me. I guess with the current system this is still true as the councel could change something, like make a street one way, on the otherside of the council and it may not affect me, but with a super-large council there is higher probability people will be making decisions about things that dont affect them at all. Maybe then the answer is 4-5 large councils instead of 1?

Also as suggested in the article, a greater power super-council would become more political i think is a fair call. Then does this mean that the a supercouncil may put party interests ahead of community needs sometimes. Is this also anything to worry about?

Does anyone know if there been any downsides in Brisbane?

In the Pros department though:
Yes a unified approach to the parklands with the investment of an entire city for the betterment of the entire city would be so very welcomed, and would be very important to strengthening Adelaide as a whole's identity
and
the dilution of small interest groups influence would be good also, although they may be replaced by lobbyists of rich organisations if a supercouncil becomes more political?

Even if there is a chance that some of these negatives were to happen with a super council no doubt they may well be completely out weighed by the positives.

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Re: #ARTICLE: Council Amalgamation

#33 Post by Shuz » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:46 am

City votes for talks on merger
DANIEL WILLS
October 01, 2009 12:01am
ADELAIDE City Council has called for local government leaders across the metropolitan area to hold official talks on forming super councils.

Lord Mayor Michael Harbison has publicly advocated the number of councils across Adelaide be slashed to as few as three, but his council is yet to settle on a formal position.

Councillors this week voted to call on the Local Government Association to chair an open forum of metropolitan council leaders to debate the merits of amalgamation.

The move comes amid fresh calls from Business SA and political leaders for a new round of local government reform.

Councillor David Plumridge said local government was "under threat" and must hold high-level talks to form a united position.

"We get the business interests and other property interests who would love to see the end of local government," he said at a meeting on Monday night.

"These days, with a greater degree of centralisation in government, it is important that we do retain the local aspect of local government."

Councillor Ralph Clarke said he favoured one super council across Adelaide but serious questions remained about how it would function.

"There's a whole range of not only representation issues but power relationships between state governments and so-called super councils which would have to be debated," he said.

Councillor Anne Moran said super councils would become party-political and lose touch with average ratepayers.

"Huge councils clearly haven't been the panacea for all evils that they thought they would be when they amalgamated last time," she said.

The State Government says it has no plans to force amalgamations.

LGA president Felicity-ann Lewis said she welcomed debate on super councils. "We are supportive of voluntary amalgamations," she said.

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Re: #ARTICLE: Council Amalgamation

#34 Post by Hooligan » Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:13 pm

Something i made because i was bored

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Re: #ARTICLE: Council Amalgamation

#35 Post by Wayno » Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:20 pm

peachy raises many good points. I'm not sure "pure" super-councils are a good idea. There definitely should be more collaboration, shared services, shared admin, etc, but local representation is a good thing in many ways. Tough one...
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Re: #ARTICLE: Council Amalgamation

#36 Post by Wayno » Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:26 pm

more on this topic from Harbo and Rann...

From ABC Online:
'Not about cost': Lord Mayor's 3-council plan

Lord Mayor Michael Harbison is calling on local government leaders to consider reducing 21 councils across metropolitan Adelaide to three, covering the north, south and central regions.

I'm not promising reduced costs, what I'm promising is better outcomes really, that we'll be able to do things that we can't presently do," he said.

"The projects, they're just too big for councils to have anything to do with any more."

South Australian Premier Mike Rann says ratepayers should be given a chance to say whether more council mergers are needed.

"I think [there are] certainly some of the economies of scale that benefit ratepayers in terms of delivery of services on one hand, but on the other hand, people say 'Yeah but if you have these giant councils they kind of lose touch with local people'," Mr Rann said.
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Re: #ARTICLE: Council Amalgamation

#37 Post by Omicron » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:01 pm

Aside from the terry-towelling hat brigade who spend every waking minute identifying bylaw breaches and complaining about barking cats, I really don't understand this 'local community hugs and kisses' ideal that apparently exists as a resut of smaller councils. As long as the customer service staff are well-trained and knowledgeable, I see no reason why three large councils would be any less effective at responding to local concerns than the existing model.

Far too many councillors spend their time in some heightened state of self-congratulatory euphoria based on needlessly complex wards and zones and regions and whatnot, bleating endlessly about supposed issues that garner overwhelming support from three people in the aforementioned terry-towelling hats and crying with joy that the government can do everything for them.

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Re: #ARTICLE: Council Amalgamation

#38 Post by fabricator » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:12 pm

I think it should be about size, not how much money.

Councils tend to have one central office, one works depot, often one library too. These small inner-city councils are far too small, where as Playford and Onkaparinga are too big. Its about travel time/costs for council staff/members, duplication of services in big councils, overlapping community facilities in small ones.

Gawler council is far too small, and is paying the costs for community/roads used by housing outside its boundary in Barossa Council area.

There is a big inequity between councils, outer spend what little money they have on new roads, and inner city can spend the huge windfall from expensive housing rates on anything they want. To truely fix the council problems, we need to rethink how rates are charged, collected and distributed.
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