25 June 2015
Queanbeyan City Council has agreed to submit an application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) advocating the creation of a Regional Services Provider model for Queanbeyan in relation to the NSW Government's Fit for the Future initiative.
The Fit for the Future initiative is the NSW Government's response to the Independent Local Government Review Panel's report into the future of local government. The Panel's report, which was finalised in 2013, recommended a merger between Queanbeyan and Palerang councils.
During May-June, Council consulted with the community and asked them for their thoughts on three possible options for the Queanbeyan Local Government, including:
- creation of a Regional Services Provider model
- merger with Palerang Council
- both Queanbeyan and Palerang standalone.
"We conducted a number of consultation activities, including a very detailed information booklet and hard copy, reply paid survey sent to all ratepayers, an online survey, a random telephone survey and community meetings," Queanbeyan Mayor, Cr Tim Overall said.
"I was very pleased with the input we received during the consultation period, with 985 reply paid surveys submitted, 132 online surveys submitted and a further 602 residents participated in the random telephone survey. The results showed a strong preference towards the Regional Services Provider option which Council will be taking forward with IPART."
The Regional Services Provider model would enable Queanbeyan City Council to remain stand-alone and also provide a number of 'back office' services to Palerang and other neighbouring councils. This option would currently meet six of the seven benchmark criteria put forward by the NSW Government and would achieve the seventh criteria by 2018-19.
NSW councils are required to submit their Fit for the Future proposal to IPART by 30 June 2015. IPART will assess all submissions and will make recommendations to the NSW Government by October 2015. The NSW Government has previously stated that it would like any changes in place in time for the local government elections in September 2016.