Local Government Reform

Warringah Council has commissioned a number of reports to inform the debate on local government reform.


For State Government Initiatives on Local Government Reform - see the news items below.

We want to know what you think of the future of local government in the region. Councilin 2011, commissioned a discussion paper that made a strong argument for council amalgamation and shared services.

The paper by internationally-recognised expert in local government reform, Peter McKinlay, has recommended several ways that local councils can share resources to improve services and be able to better deal with the complex....Read more

Latest News and Updates

  • Deadline for submissions to the State Government has been extended

    The deadline for comments on the State government's reforms has been extended to Friday 4 April 2014. This includes comments on the final reports of both the Independent Local Government Review Panel and the Local Government Acts Taskforce

    Details of how to make a submission to the State government are available on the Division of Local Government’s website.

    Warringah's submission to the Taskforce will be considered by Council at its meeting of 25 February 2014.


    by Project Manager 18 Feb 2014, 04:52 PM
  • Release of reports by NSW Government

    The final reports of the Independent Local Government Review Panel and the Local Government Acts Taskforce have been released.

     The NSW Government will consider the final reports over the coming months and prepare its response. Councils and community members can provide comment to the Government by Friday 7th March 2014.


    by Project Manager 10 Jan 2014, 04:18 PM
  • Final SGS report released on options for our region

    Following community consultation, Council has finalised the SGS report "Local Government Structural Change - Options Analysis" . The final report includes responses to the community feedback, and further explanations of the methodology and assumptions used. (Resolved at Council meeting of 27 August 2013 (Agenda item 8.5)

    One of the main findings of the report is that by combining councils, the community would benefit from massive savings as well as improved local democracy and control, by introducing Local Community Boards.  Merging Pittwater, Manly and Warringah into one council would improve service standards and save the community around $375m over 10 years.  The report also looks at other options and assesses both financial and social benefits.

    Warringah is inviting surrounding councils to discuss the report's findings and options for the future across the broader region.

    by Project Manager 10 Sep 2013, 10:43 AM
  • Comment on research on community governance of larger councils

    How can larger councils retain community identity?  Can they represent their community well and be democratically accountable?  Can they delegate some service delivery?  This research paper on "Community-Level Governance" looks at local and overseas examples of solutions such as Local Boards, Community Boards and Parish Councils.

    Commissioned by the Independant Local Government Review Panel, the paper is open for comment to the Panel by 20 August 2013. Click here for more information on the Panel's research and contact details (send your comments to info@localgovernmentreview.nsw.gov.au).

    by Project Manager 02 Aug 2013, 03:20 PM
  • Draft report on future options open for comment - local government structural change

    Council is considering a draft independent report by SGS Economics and Planning, which reviews the options for structural change to local government in the region. The report looks at essential elements for effective local government and weights these to determine a preferred option. These elements are:
    • Local representation, including the use of Local/Community Boards 
    • Communities of interest and local identity
    • Strategic capacity
    • Asset and infrastructure provision
    • Financial capacity
    • Service provision
    • Potential efficiency savings eg. a single northern beaches council would yield savings around $375m over 10 years

    The report's Executive Summary gives a quick overview in 3 pages
    Chapter 2 summarises the options
    Chapter 3 examines the wider region and what we have in common
    Chapter 4 looks at improving local representation by introducing Local Boards
    Chapters 5 and 6 compare the finances of councils and future options
    Chapter 7 assesses the options against essential elements of good local government.

    Council is seeking public comment before finalising the report. Click here to provide your views on the draft report (up to 500 words per question) or mail a submission to Warringah Council, 725 Pittwater Rd Dee Why 2099, Attn: Strategic Planning.

    Comments close on Wednesday 31 July.  The results of this consultation will be reported to Council on 27 August 2013. 

    by Project Manager 01 Jul 2013, 02:21 PM
  • Warringah submissions and independant report released

    Council approved two submissions on local government reform at its recent meeting 25 June 2013.  The submissions to the Local Government Acts Taskforce and the Independent Local Government Review Panel can be viewed in the library tab on the right.  Click here for a short overview of the Panel's options for structuring local government on the northern beaches. Our submission to the Panel outlines our support for a range of reforms, including how how Local Boards and amalgamation could improve local democracy and services on the northern beaches.

    At the same meeting Council also considered an independent report by SGS Economics and Planning, which reviewed the cost-benefit of a number of options for structural change to local government in the region, including:

    • Current local government boundaries continued
    • Amalgamation of Manly, Pittwater, and Warringah councils
    • Amalgamation of Manly, Mosman, Pittwater and Warringah councils
    • Amalgamation of Manly, Pittwater, and Warringah, Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby councils

    Council resolved that the draft preliminary report be placed on display (Agenda item 5.5).  This report is currently available online and will be open for public comment shortly.

    by Project Manager 28 Jun 2013, 05:07 PM
  • Final Discussion papers released from the NSW Government

    Two final discussion papers on local government reform in NSW have recently been released, and are open for comment to the State Government until Friday 28 June 2013:

    "Future Directions for NSW Local Government: 20 Essential Steps", by the Independent Local Government Review Panel. This takes a strategic outlook, focussing on big picture solutions:

    • Improving financial sustainability
    • Addressing the infrastructure backlog
    • Structural change: amalgamations, county councils and boundary changes
    • Improving governance
    • Improving productivity and services

    The Panel will be holding a Community Hearing on these proposals at the Civic Centre, Dee Why from 5-7pm on Tuesday 4th June, for the northern beaches community.  For details on the Hearing and to make a submission click here

    "A New Local Government Act for NSW", by the Local Government Acts Taskforce.
    This focuses on the detailed legislative changes that are needed to improve the governance and financial sustainability of local government. The Taskforce is holding a workshop on the afternoon of Monday 6 May in Pymble for interested parties. For more information or to make a submission click here.

    Warringah is actively involved in reviewing these papers and preparing submissions from the Council, which will be referred to the elected Council at the meeting of Tuesday 25th June 2013. Click on these links for draft submissions to the Taskforce (Agenda item 8.2) and the Panel. (item 8.3)

    by Project Manager 29 Apr 2013, 05:02 PM
  • The Case for Sustainable Change - Review Panel's second discussion paper

    In November the Independent Local Government Review Panel released its second paper "Better, Stronger Local Government - The Case for Sustainable Change", which is open for comment until 22 March 2013.  The paper is the result of research and extensive consultation across the State, and will lead to more workshops, focus groups and meetings in the coming months.  The paper sets out the Panel's current thinking on some key aspects of strengthening local government:

    • Improving the system of local government
    • Facing the challenges
    • Improving financial management
    • Better infrastructure and services
    • Matching structures and boundaries
    • Securing good governance
    • State-local government relations

    Although the ideas of boundary changes and amalgamation are raised in chapter 6, the paper has no proposals, maps or short lists.  It raises a number of factors to consider in regards to any such change, highlighting that particularly in the Sydney Region there is a 'case to consider significant consolidation to enhance the strategic capacity of local government'.

    Following further studies and consultations, the Panel’s third paper “Future Directions” will be released in March 2013 – this will likely include recommended changes and models for the future. For more on the Panel, its consultations and how to make a submission click here.

    by Project Manager 06 Dec 2012, 02:14 PM
  • Warringah submissions on local government reform

    Warringah continues to be active in its dialogue with the State government on how to strengthen local government for a sustainable future.

    In February 2012 we made a submission on the government's plans for reforms, as laid out in the draft Destination 2036 Action Plan.  The Action Plan was then finalised in June 2012.

    In September we made a submission on the Independent Local Government Review Panel's first discussion paper "Strengthening Your Community" .

    In December 2012 we also made a submission to the Review of the Local Government Act, in response to the Taskforce's Preliminary Ideas paper.

    Through this reform process a number of further papers and reports will be released by the various bodies involved, and Warringah continues to be active in these consultations:

    This diagram gives an overview of how these three bodies are all working together in the reform process through 2012 and 2013.  For more background see page 13 of the Destination 2036 Action Plan.

    by Project Manager 06 Dec 2012, 01:02 PM
  • Review of ROCs and local government legislation

    The NSW Government recently commenced two reviews, as part of the Destination 2036 Action Plan:

    Review of Regional Organisation of Councils (ROCs): an independent consultant is undertaking research and interviews of 10 ROCs around the State, and with Warringah Council's Executive.  This will be used to develop a paper on options and models to strengthen the role of ROCs, due for release in November 2012 by the Independent Local Government Review Panel. See here for more on the Panel's work

    Review of the Local Government Act: The newly-formed Local Government Acts Taskforce will consider how the legislation needs to be strengthened, streamlined and modernised to ensure that local government can meet the needs of the community. A Preliminary Ideas Paper has been released, and you can provide comment by the 21 December.  The Taskforce will work closely with the Independent Local Government Review Panel, and report to the Minister by September 2013.  See here for more on the Taskforce.

    The need for changes to the Act was reinforced by the recent Auditor-General's Report: Monitoring Local Government.  It highlights the need to improve the provisions covering financial management and accountability, performance monitoring of service delivery, and councillor conduct.  It also highlights the need for the Division of Local Government to introduce better systems for the oversight of councils.  Warringah is one of the few councils that exceeds the requirements for accountability, by having its budget independently audited every year.

    by Project Manager 03 Oct 2012, 05:12 PM