Size will count in merg­ers

PANEL TO FAC­TOR IN GROWTH

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Adam Bell

THE man who will help de­cide the fate of coun­cils in NSW will closely scru­ti­nise pop­u­la­tion fore­casts in weigh­ing up if they should amal­ga­mate.

For­mer chief ad­viser to Peter Costello and pow­er­ful op­er­a­tor in the Howard Gov­ern­ment, Dr Peter Box­all, said pop­u­la­tion fore­casts would be a fac­tor used to as­sess whether coun­cils had suf­fi­cient “scale and ca­pac­ity” to go it alone.

“We haven’t come up with a one-size-fits-all (pop­u­la­tion) fig­ure but we will be in­formed by the fig­ure in the in­de­pen­dent panel’s re­port which un­der­pins each of the pro­posed coun­cil merg­ers,” Dr Box­all said.

As the head of the NSW In­de­pen­dent Pric­ing and Reg­u­la­tory Tri­bunal, he is in charge of as­sess­ing pro­pos­als made by coun­cils this week to merge or stand­alone.

The pop­u­la­tion tar­gets set out in an ear­lier re­port var­ied but were as high as 670,000 by 2031 for the “global city” pro­posal for City of Syd­ney, Wool­lahra, Waver­ley, Rock­dale and Botany Bay.

IPART has un­til Oc­to­ber to as­sess the coun­cils’ Fit for the Fu­ture pro­pos­als.

“We will ei­ther as­sess them as ‘fit’ or ‘not fit’ for the fu­ture,” Dr Box­all said.

He said the “over­ar­ch­ing cri­te­ria” is scale and ca­pac­ity fol­lowed by: fi­nan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity; in­fra­struc­ture ca­pac­ity and man­age­ment; and ef­fi­ciency.

The Fit for the Fu­ture re­forms are part of the State Gov­ern­ment’s moves to re-

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