Bondi View

Councils reject amalgamation

Waverley Mayor Sally Betts / Photo:

By Ariana Janiw

Waverley Council has rejected a proposal by the NSW Independent Local Government Review Panel for an amalgamation with the City of Sydney, Woollahra, Randwick and Botany councils.

Revitalising Local Government recommended the merger to create a joint “community of interest” and strengthen the financial position of the councils. The panel was formed with the objective of creating a revitalised system of local government that would remain sustainable to 2050.

Waverley Major Sally Betts said the City of Sydney and Waverley were not communities of interest as Waverley was a coastal council with “very different needs and aspirations to the City of Sydney”. She said a conflict of interest would occur between the City and Waverley’s vision of Bondi Junction.

Ms Betts argued the panel’s proposal “would not lead to improved services for the Waverley community”.

“I am against the idea of merging with City of Sydney because I don’t see how the interests of Waverley residents will be served by being gobbled up by the City.”

She said Waverley Council was already working on key projects with neighbouring councils including a joint waste program with Woollahra.

After posting a surplus last year Ms Betts said she expects Waverley to continue this into the next few years and has applied to TCorp to have its current financial position reviewed.

Waverley councillor Ingrid Strewe said she had not seen a substantial argument for amalgamation.

“The only benefit if we were to amalgamate with City of Sydney would be more budget, but then we would all be fighting for it,” she said.

Cr Stewe also expressed concerns about the merge having “no democratic, community or social benefit” except for the development industry.

“There would be a minimal number of councillors to assist people in their daily needs,” Cr Stewe said.

“The whole of Waverley may only have three councillors.”

Woollahra Councillor Andrew Petrie supported discussing amalgamation, but said it is ultimately unnecessary.

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