No benefit in Fairfield and Liverpool councils merging: Mayor

FAIRFIELD mayor Frank Carbone has upheld his stance against the suggestion by the Independent Local Government Review Panel of a merger of Fairfield and Liverpool councils.

The panel's Revitalising Local Government report recommended the merger because of the "need for a higher-capacity council to manage a proposed Liverpool regional centre, which is close to Fairfield boundary".

But Cr Carbone said Fairfield, with more than 190,000 residents, was the fifth largest council in Australia.

"There are no benefits to our residents by amalgamating Fairfield Council — which is economically sustainable — with another council that has a weak financial outlook, as expressed by the NSW Treasury Corporation (TCorp)," he said.

"Liverpool was rated 'Sound-Negative' in TCorp's Financial Sustainability Ratings compared with Fairfield, which was given a 'Sound-Neutral' rating."

Cr Carbone also said Fairfield Council's rates were on average 20 to 30 per cent less than Liverpool's.

"What benefits are there to Fairfield residents to be taken over by Liverpool, which has higher rates, parking meters on the streets and privatised swimming pools?

"As the mayor of Fairfield City and — more importantly — as a member of our community, I am not opposed to change or to any benefits that can be achieved, as long as it's in the interests of Fairfield's 190,000 residents."

Cr Carbone said that if Fairfield and Liverpool councils amalgamated it would result in Fairfield residents paying more to help fund a Liverpool regional centre.

"This would have a negative impact on our infrastructure such as closures and amalgamations of local parks and halls, and result in the loss of unique services now enjoyed by residents in the Fairfield area," he said.

"I will find it hard to support any proposal that seeks only to improve Liverpool and that impacts negatively on our residents.

"If such proposals for amalgamation are to be considered, more consultation with our community, as well as with local state and federal MPs, needs to be undertaken."

At present, the proposal remains a recommendation of the review panel.

In previous reports in the Fairfield Champion's sister publication, the Liverpool Champion, Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun has also voiced his opposition to any merger with Fairfield.

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