New laws to remove roadblock to demergers

06th Feb 2024

Save & Grow Guyra have issued a friendly reminder that a public meeting is set down for February 22nd to discuss developments around council demergers.
They have welcomed news this week that the NSW government will introduce new laws to remove a major legal roadblock delaying the break-up of forcibly merged councils.
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is reporting that in its first major piece of legislation for the year, the government will repeal what it says is a “legally flawed section” of the Local Government Act and replace it with a “democratic process” to allow voters to decide on the demerger of their local council.
Under Labor’s changes, councils wanting to demerge must develop a robust business case which considers the financial impacts and the council’s ability to fund deamalgamation, long-term strategic plans and the service delivery capacity of the new demerged councils.
Councils will also be required to undertake community consultation on the business case, and the minister for local government must then forward that business case to the NSW Local Government Boundaries Commission for an independent review.
After the review, the minister may then approve a constitutional referendum with a compulsory vote, which would require majority support from locals to proceed with a de-amalgamation.
One major sticking point for councils will be their ability to pay for the demerger.
The SMH article quotes the Local Government Minister Ron Hoenig:
“While the NSW government strongly supports a clear process for councils and communities to exercise their democratic right to pursue de-amalgamation, we also have to be realistic about challenges this brings”.
The forum to discuss the latest deveolpments will be held at the Guyra Bowling Club on February 22nd commencing at 6pm.