Inner West Independent

Deamalgamation, meeting schedules and food recycling to headline first Inner West Council meeting of the new year

Inner West Council held its first meeting of the new year last week. Photo: Inner West Council.

By DANIEL LO SURDO

Inner West Council will hold its first council meeting of the new year tonight following the local elections in December and the vote by new councillors to return Darcy Byrne as Inner West Mayor and install Jessica D’Arienzo as deputy.

Cr Byrne will use a mayoral minute tonight to address the deamalgamation survey, which accompanied ballot papers at December’s elections, and showed a 62.5 per cent preference to return the Inner West to its three former councils of Ashfield, Marrickville and Leichhardt.

The motion states that council “commences the preparation of a business case for demerger and notifies the NSW government of the commencement of the development of a business case for demerger” and “notes the concerns expressed by Council officers … about the impact of demerger on morale and productivity within the organisation”.

Newly-elected Greens councillor Justine Langford has tabled a deamalgamation motion ensuring that a business case for the demerger is delivered to the Minister for Local Government by November this year, and to have all three councils re-established by September 2024, which will be the start of the next term of council.

Also on the agenda is a motion that calls for the council meeting schedule to be amended to one ordinary meeting per month, following reports from council officers that a two meeting per month cycle “leaves little time to action items from one meeting before reports are due for the next meeting”.

It’s proposed that council meets on the second Tuesday of every month in 2022 (except for council recess in January and July), with councillor workshops to occur on the first and third Tuesday from February to November.

One of the last motions on the council agenda has been tabled by newly-elected Labor councillor Mat Howard, who proposes that council commit to providing food organics and garden organics (FOGO) recycling to every home in the Inner West in the current term of council after it was introduced in apartments last term.

FOGO services divert food scraps from landfill, where it decays and creates methane, and converts waste into compost to be used in urban landscaping, sporting fields and farms.

The motion has received praise from all factions of council, with Independent John Stamolis calling it a “positive thing” and Greens councillor Kobi Shetty saying that “it’s really important that we’re reducing the waste to landfill” and that it makes “absolute sense to support” the expansion of FOGO recycling.

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