Premier Mike Baird said ratepayers would be the real winners after council amalgamations.
Premier Mike Baird said ratepayers would be the real winners after council amalgamations. Marc Stapelberg

42 councils merged into 20 in NSW amalgamations

TWENTY new councils will be created by merging 42 councils in regional NSW.

Although ratepayers do not often feel like winners when their councils are overhauled, that is the line Premier Mike Baird is plugging with the NSW Government's proposed mergers.

The amalgamations would bring the number of regional councils down from 109 to 87.

Mr Baird said ratepayers would be the real winners with the mergers leading to less red tape for businesses and communities working with council.

He said auditors KPMG's independent analysis found the proposed amalgamations would save up to $2 billion.

"Through the Stronger Communities Fund, every new council that is established will be provided with up to $15 million to invest in community infrastructure," Mr Baird said.

"Each new council will receive funding of up to $10 million to ensure ratepayers do not bear the upfront costs of merging."

Local Government Minister Paul Toole said the proposal followed four years of consultation with every NSW council, independent assessments, merger preferences submitted by councils and feedback from communities and stakeholders.

Detailed merger proposals are now being finalised and will be referred to the chief executive of the Office of Local Government, who will then appoint delegates for a public consultation process that will include public hearings.

Following this stage, final proposals will be referred to the Boundaries Commission for comment.

Mr Baird and Mr Toole said the community would have the opportunity to have a say on the government's vision for local governments.

The public consultation process will start in January.

- APN NEWSDESK



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