Ordinary Council Meeting
19 October 2015
The meeting commences at 6.30pm. If members of the public are
not interested in any business recommended to be considered in
Closed Session or there is no such business, Council will ordinarily
commence consideration of all other business at 7pm.
Notice of Meeting
Notice is given of the Ordinary Council Meeting, to be held in the Council Chambers, 48 Longueville Road Lane Cove on Monday 19 October 2015 commencing at 6:30pm. The business to be transacted at the meeting is included in this business paper.
The Council meeting is chaired by the Mayor, Councillor Deborah Hutchens. Councillors are entitled to one vote on a matter. If votes are equal, the Chairperson has a second or casting vote. When a majority of Councillors vote in favour of a Motion it becomes a decision of the Council. Minutes of Council and Committee meetings are published on Council’s website www.lanecove.nsw.gov.au by 5pm on the Thursday following the meeting.
The Meeting is conducted in accordance with Council's Code of Meeting Practice. The order of business is listed in the Agenda on the next page. That order will be followed unless Council resolves to modify the order at the meeting. This may occur for example where the members of the public in attendance are interested in specific items on the agenda.
Members of the public may address the Council Meeting on any issue for a maximum of 3 minutes during the public forum which is held at the beginning of the meeting. All persons addressing the Meeting must speak to the Chair. Speakers and Councillors will not enter into general debate or ask questions.
If you do not understand any part of the information given above; require assistance to participate in the meeting due to a disability; or wish to obtain information in relation to Council, please contact Council’s Manager Governance on 99113525.
Please note meetings held in the Council Chambers are recorded on tape for the purposes of verifying the accuracy of minutes and the tapes are not disclosed to any third party under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, except as allowed under section 18(1) or section 19(1) of the PPIP Act, or where Council is compelled to do so by court order, warrant or subpoena or by any other legislation.
1. Opportunity to Purchase Land at Greenwich for Open Space Purposes
It is recommended that the Council close so much of the meeting to the public as provided for under Section 10A(2) (d) of the Local Government Act, 1993, on the grounds that the report contains commercial information of a confidential nature that would, if disclosed (i) prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it; or (ii) confer a commercial advantage on a competitor of the council; or (iii) reveal a trade secret; it further being considered that discussion of the matter in open meeting would be, on balance, contrary to public interest by reason of the foregoing.
2. Mayoral Minute - Fit for the Future
It is recommended that the Council close so much of the meeting to the public as provided for under Section 10A(2) (g) of the Local Government Act, 1993, on the grounds that the report contains advice concerning litigation, or advice as comprises a discussion of this matter, that would otherwise be privileged from production in legal proceedings on the ground of legal professional privilege; it further being considered that discussion of the matter in open meeting would be, on balance, contrary to public interest by reason of the foregoing.
3. Mayoral Minute - Fit for the Future Response to Forced Amalgamations
Subject: Mayoral Minute - Fit for the Future Response to Forced Amalgamations
Record No: SU5558 - 63153/15
Division: Lane Cove Council
Author(s): Councillor Deborah Hutchens
Many Councillors were present at him Local government Conference where the Premier, the Hon Mike Baird and the Minister for Local Government the Hon Paul Toole spoke regarding their agenda for Local Government reform.
Undoubtedly, the speeches were targeted towards those Councils who have refused to consider the ‘Fit for Future’ package, however, there is no guarantee that the Minister will endorse our JRA model either.
For that reason I have requested that the General Manager obtain legal advice relating to the processes available to the Minister should our JRA not be accepted and the State Government proceeds with its forced amalgamations agenda with neighbouring councils.
I now therefore table the legal advice, included as AT1, from Maddocks Lawyers and authorise its public release.
Notwithstanding the views of the Premier, and the Minister for Local Government, Professor Percy Allan and Dr Joseph Drew from UNE Centre for Local Government have concluded that there was no evidence forced amalgamations would achieve cost savings and in fact they could cost ratepayers more. It is worth nothing that Council’s JRA model received favourable mention at the conference as an alternative to forced amalgamations.
In an email received from Councillor Keith Rhoades, President of Local Government NSW, he stated that LGNSW would continue to support councils which oppose forced amalgamations. Given:-
· the lack of empirical evidence supporting forced amalgamations, lack of endorsement from Professionals, (Professors Percy Allan, Brian Dollery and Joseph Drew); and
· the unwillingness of the State Government to listen and/or consult with these professionals;
we consider the current television advertisements titled ‘Stronger Councils. Stronger Communities’ and other commentary by the State Government to be disingenuous and we ask that LGNSW respond accordingly to these advertisements.
In particular I believe that the following misstatements need to be addressed:
· Councils are not losing $1M per day;
· There is no empirical evidence to support amalgamations as a model to create efficiencies in the Local Government sector;
· Apparently but not obvious to the NSW State Government, the reason why NSW has more councils than Queensland and Victoria it that the population of NSW is larger and Council mergers have already taken place in Victoria and Queensland;
· Forced Amalgamations in Victoria, Queensland’s, NSW, Tasmania and South Australia have failed costing the taxpayers of those states hundreds of millions of dollars.
· In Queensland when forced amalgamations failed and de-amalgamations were required, ratepayers and taxpayers of that state paid additionally tens of millions of dollars,
· Rates in NSW are significantly cheaper compared to States where forced amalgamations have occurred;
· In Metropolitan Sydney of the 10 largest councils in population, 70% are running deficits, debunking the myth that larger councils are more financial sustainable;
· The size of Metropolitan Councils compared to other countries is the 4 largest in the OECD;
· There is minimal community support; there is 92% support for a JRA:
· The State Government has not consulted rather dictated to councils its objectives are;
· $600M of the State Government financial assistance to councils who agree to amalgamate is reduced interest costs on future debt that the ratepayers will have to repay.
While this Council acknowledges that some Local Government reform is required it agrees with the experts that forced amalgamations are not the answer preferring a shared services model that is back up by imperial evidence and has the support of industry professionals..
1. The tabled legal advice from Maddocks Lawyers be made public;
2. Council forward a copy of the legal advice from Maddocks Lawyers to LGNSW and give them express permission to circulate to all Councillors and other persons as they see fit;
3. Council write to Trent Zimmerman, acting President of State Executive, Liberal Party of Australia NSW Division and seek his support for the JRA model;
4. The General Manager be authorised upon request from the Mayor to organise such community meetings as and when required to discuss the findings the IPART and response from the State Government;
5. The General Manager write to LGNSW and request that they challenge the assertions made in the television advertisements ‘Stronger Councils. Stronger Communities.’ and specifically refer to items previously mentioned in this Mayoral Minute; and
6. Council write to our Local Member the Hon. Anthony Roberts and ask that he reaffirms his position that he is against forced amalgamations and supports our JRA model.
Councillor Deborah Hutchens
Advice on the Process for an Amalgamation dated 18 October 2015