Scott Morrison – Georges River, Bayside councils feud over proposed boundary changes
The council also wants to align its boundary with the M5, which would bring in parts of Riverwood and Narwee that currently lie within the City of Canterbury Bankstown.
The proposed change would unite the communities of interest south of the M5, the community survey said. “Additionally, the area could be more efficiently and effectively serviced by the Georges River Council as an extension of current service arrangements.”
Yet Cr Badalati said his original proposal was limited to “tidying up” the boundary with the City of Canterbury Bankstown by aligning it with the M5, and he did not support the takeover of parts of Bayside Council, which was subsequently proposed by a Liberal councillor.
The takeover proposal has provoked outrage from Georges River’s neighbouring councils both led by Labor mayors.
Bayside Council voted unanimously to reject the plan and launched its Butt out of Bayside campaign to fight the proposal.
Bayside mayor Joe Awada said the takeover proposal was “whimsical land grab” and a “thought bubble” with no merit or substance.
“It was a decision made by Georges River Council on the floor of its council chambers with no consultation,” he said.
Cr Awada said the council had invested substantial funds into improving parks, playgrounds and community facilities including a new childcare centre in the area.
“Bayside would suffer a loss of revenue and loss of assets,” he said.
Cr Awada added it was “extremely uncommon” for a council to seek to take over parts of neighbouring councils.
The proposed takeover also provoked the ire of the City of Canterbury Bankstown, which will oppose it “every step of the way”, a council spokeswoman said.
“There is no justification for this blatant land grab,” she said. “There was no prior consultation.”
Canterbury Bankstown’s Labor mayor Khal Asfour said the proposal was “without any basis and fails to pass any test of public interest” in a letter to Georges River’s Labor mayor Kevin Greene.
Local government minister Shelley Hancock said Georges River Council was yet to lodge a proposal to change its boundaries.
If Bayside or Canterbury Bankstown objects, Mrs Hancock would generally refer the proposal to the Local Government Boundaries Commission before making a decision.
Labor’s local government spokesman Greg Warren said he understood the intention behind the takeover proposal was to “tidy up” boundaries.
But Mr Warren blamed the fight over council boundaries on the state government’s “bungled forced mergers policy”, which he said councils were “still trying to clean up more than four years later”.
“The blame for any issues relating to boundaries disputes lays square at the feet of this incompetent NSW government,” he said.
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Andrew Taylor is a Senior Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.