Newcastle Lord Mayor questions IPART report
The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Cr Nuatali Nelmes, says the IPART report on Council Fit for the Future Proposals released today is subjective.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Newcastle City Council demonstrated that it met measures of sustainability, infrastructure and service management, and efficiency as required to be deemed 'fit'.
The IPART report has determined that 'Lake Macquarie and Newcastle [Councils] did not show that their proposals to stand alone were as good as, or better than, the merger option'.
The Lord Mayor said while Newcastle remained opposed to a merger, she would be open to discussions about boundary adjustments.
"The Hunter region does not have an oversupply of small local government areas like Sydney," she said.
"Newcastle and the Hunter would be better served by strategic boundary adjustments that reflect the lifestyles and needs of our local community.
"Newcastle's future success will come from being managed as an integrated metropolitan city rather than a regional city, recognising our role as the second oldest city in Australia.
"Many communities to the north and northwest of Newcastle already identify Newcastle as their local capital because they come here for work, recreation and services.
"Southern Lake Macquarie identifies much more strongly with the Central Coast and Sydney and it doesn't make sense for that area to become part of an LGA with Newcastle as its central hub."
Newcastle City Council is already partnering with other Hunter region councils through Hunter Councils Incorporated, which delivers economic efficiencies by coordinating training, legal services and records management. Hunter Councils is a Pilot Joint Organisation as part of the NSW Government's FFTF system.
"Newcastle will review the full IPART report and respond as requested by 18 November. I am committed to the best outcome for our community," the Lord Mayor said.