Fit for the future, (not) fit for the community: a critical analysis of NSW Council amalgamation and community opposition
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 03:15 authored by Khandakar Al Farid Uddin
The NSW State Government announced its local government strategic reform program Fit for the Future (FFTF) in 2014. At the centre of the NSW Government's plan was the desire to reduce the number of local government areas (LGAs). This research found that council amalgamation remains a central policy goal of local government strategic reform. Despite the goals of the State Government, the FFTF reforms were opposed throughout the process. This opposition arose from both local communities and local government. Despite a growing body of existing literature exploring Council reform in NSW, a critical gap is observed. To date, analysis of local government reform fail to examine the rationale and strategy of community opposition. In order to better reveal the insights of the amalgamation process, this project adopted a case study approach by examining the proposed merger of Ryde, Lane Cove and Hunters Hill councils. A qualitative mixed methods approach is adopted. Within the context of the neoliberal and post-political form of governance, this research reveals the State Government objectives and strategies behind FFTF. Likewise, drawing on a post-politics and NIMBY framework, councils and community reasons and strategies in opposing council amalgamation is interrogated.