MINISTER for Local Government Paul Toole today welcomed the decisions of the Land and Environment Court in relation to five council merger proposals.
The court entirely dismissed Shellharbour Council’s action regarding its opposition to merging with Wollongong City Council. The court also dismissed the opposition to the merger of Hornsby Shire and Ku-ring-gai councils and Hunters Hill, Lane Cove and Ryde councils.
Shellharbour has until September 27 to consider an appeal.
The proposal puts to bed an unsuccessful attempt in the 1990s for the reinstatement of the former Bulli Shire Council, and for the northern suburbs to sucede from Wollongong. Shellahrbour will now join with Wollongong, and the northern beaches to form one major Illawarra local government area.
“The Court noted that the complaints common to the five were without foundation,” Mr Toole said.
Regarding the action brought by Mosman and Strathfield councils, the court found that the Delegate did not adequately consider one and two of 11 factors outlined by the Local Government Act respectively, meaning the proposed mergers remainin the hands of the Delegates.
“The Government will closely examine the findings in relation to these Delegates’ reports,” Mr Toole said.
The NSW Government proclaimed 19 new councils on May 12. Bayside Council was proclaimed on September 9 following the conclusion of legal action brought by the former Botany Bay council.
A further three merger proposals remain subject to decisions of the courts.
“The 20 new councils in NSW are already getting on with the job of delivering improved services and better infrastructure to their ratepayers,” Mr Toole said.