Australian local government sustainability and transformation: Structural reform and the fit for the future (F4F) reform initiative in New South Wales - forced council mergers

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Ian Tiley


For decades, sustainability and, especially, long-term financial sustainability and transformation, primarily through structural and other modes of reform, have constituted major concerns and problems for the ‘grass roots’ Australian government. Usually the catalyst for change in these areas has emanated from state and territory jurisdictions which have imposed reforms, often with little regard for local councils or the communities they serve.
Since August 2011, in New South Wales, a structured process of dialogue and consultation has been ongoing in the local government sector with the objective of implementing beneficial reform. The paper briefly explains this transformation initiative and particularly the NSW Government Fit for the Future (F4F) process and the current 35 council merger proposals.
The process is considered from the perspective of a long-term local government practitioner, elected representative, Mayor, and former member of the NSW Local Government Acts Taskforce (LGAT).

Article Details

Author Biography

Ian Tiley, University of New England, Armidale

Adjunct Research Fellow,

School of Business,

Institute for Rural Futures

University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351