North Sydney Council unanimously voted at its February meeting to continue opposing the proposed forced merger with Willoughby and Mosman Councils.
This follows the announcement by the NSW State Government on 14 February 2017 that they will proceed with Council mergers in metropolitan Sydney despite stepping away from the proposed amalgamations of 17 rural and regional Councils.
Currently there are five merger proposals of 14 metropolitan councils – including the proposed merger of North Sydney, Willoughby and Mosman Councils.
Council continues to oppose the mergers and maintains its commitment to opposing the forced amalgamation through every available legal means.
To date, Council has won part of its case contesting the Delegate’s Report in the Land & Environment Court, with the NSW Government ordered to pay costs.
Council is now appealing on points lost. The matter was heard in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, on 3,4 & 6 April, at the same time as Strathfield and Hunters Hill Councils’ litigation. The Court reserved judgement and Council is now awaiting the outcome of the proceedings.
A copy of the Judgement by Justice Moore on 20 September 2016 by Justice Moore can be found at: https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/57df5763e4b0e71e17f54344
The decision meant that the Government could not use the Delegate’s Report as it currently stood, which delayed the Government being able to amalgamate North Sydney, Mosman and Willoughby Councils immediately.
After the Court ruling, the NSW State Government had the same Delegate revise his original report, which the Minister refused to make public.
Council has since lodged new legal proceedings in November 2016, contesting the procedural fairness of the same Delegate revising his original report, and raising the issue of bias. The proceedings commenced on 23 March and are currently part-heard, pending the outcome of the Court of Appeal decision.
On 20 December 2016, the Minister publicly released the Revised Delegates Report and the Boundary Commission’s comments. These can be found at: https://www.strongercouncils.nsw.gov.au/pending-councils/mosman-municipal-north-sydney-and-willoughby-city-councils/
Council has made a Submission on this report to the Minister, which you can read here.
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