We stand alone

FAIRFIELD mayor Frank Carbone says he will oppose any plan to amalgamate his city with any other local government area.

His comments follow the release of a new white paper from Local Government Review Panel chairman Graham Sansom which calls for "significant consolidation" of Sydney councils.

The paper also suggests popularly elected mayors be installed and new regional groupings deliver combined services.

"The panel believes there is a case to consider significant consolidation to enhance the strategic capacity of local government across the Sydney metropolitan area," Professor Sansom said.

"Local government in NSW must tackle the challenges of change and become an indispensable partner in the state's public sector if it wants to play a stronger, sustainable role and provide the support local communities need."

Mr Carbone said that if Fairfield was to amalgamate with a neighbouring council, many benefits would be stripped from residents.

"It's important that we continue to maintain our own character because every area is different and has different requirements," he said. "If we make it bigger, local people won't be able to have a say. In my view, there will be no benefits to residents if two large councils are amalgamated."

The white paper also suggested mayors be given more powers to deal with misbehaving councillors, as well as making the position full-time paid in larger areas.

Councillor Carbone agreed that mayors should be given more powers.

"Residents expect that when they elect a mayor they're given the responsibility to govern," he said. "My job as mayor is currently part-time but I'm working as if it's a full-time job."

Professor Sansom said all amalgamation options would be examined in the next few months and discussed in detail with the councils concerned.

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