Does Kiama meet the merger criteria?

V31A4577In his report to Council, General Manager Michael Forsyth highlighted the terms of reference of the decision-making process (see below), and offered the following response to the criteria:

  • Council is financially sound with approximately $42 million in reserves and a 10 year long term financial plan and asset management plan
  • Consultants Morrison Low have reviewed Council’s proposal to be fit for the future and show that Council is able to meet the IPART financial criteria by 2019/2020
  • Council has substantial assets including the Blue Haven Retirement Village and Aged Care Facility, residential land at Spring Creek and key commercial sites
  • Kiama Council has had a long period of good governance and political stability
  • Kiama Council has been the long term host of the Joint Regional Councils and effectively collaborates with the other Councils on regional programs and resource sharing
  • Kiama Council employs approx 280 staff (including Blue Haven and Waste Services)
    providing a high level of service and underpinning the local economy
  • 40% of local residents work in the Municipality while 50% travel north to Shellharbour, Wollongong and Sydney for work. Only 10% of residents travel to the Shoalhaven for work.
  • Kiama Council is part of the Sydney Water region. Shoalhaven City Council is not.
  • Kiama Council is in the Lake Illawarra Police Command. Shoalhaven City Council is in the Shoalhaven Police
  • Kiama Municipal Council provides a green waste service. Shoalhaven City Council does not.
  • Kiama Council provides a range of aged care services. Shoalhaven City Council does not.
  • Kiama Municipal Council has had excellent relations with and provides funding support for local emergency service groups including the Kiama State Emergency Services and local bush fire brigades
  • The unemployment rate in Shoalhaven City Council is 9.5% compared to 4% in the Kiama LGA
  • The Kiama Municipality has a very strong community of interest which is different and separate to surrounding local government areas.

Council has engaged Morrison Low to assess the cost benefit of any merger.

Issues that will decide the matter

The matters required to be considered by the Delegate, Boundaries Commission and NSW Government are listed as follows:

  • the financial advantages or disadvantages of the proposal to the residents and ratepayers of the areas concerned
  • the community of interest and geographic cohesion in the existing areas and in any proposed new area
  • the existing historical and traditional values in the existing areas and the impact of change on them
  • the attitude of the residents and ratepayers of the areas concerned
  • the requirements of the area concerned in relation to elected representation for residents and ratepayers at the local level, the desirable and appropriate relationship between elected representatives and ratepayers and residents and such other matters
    as considered relevant in relation to the past and future patterns of elected representation for that area
  • the impact of the proposal on the ability of the council to provide adequate, equitable and appropriate services and facilities
  • the impact of the proposal on the employment of the staff by the council
  • the impact of the proposal on any rural communities in the resulting area
  • the desirability (or otherwise) of dividing the resulting area or areas into wards
  • the need to ensure that the opinions of each of the diverse communities of the resulting area or areas are effectively represented
  • any other factors relevant to the provision of efficient and effective local government in the existing and proposed new areas.





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