Local Government Reform Process

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Bellingen Shire Council Fit for the Future
The Office of Local Government assessed Council’s reassessment proposal against the Financial Sustainability criteria and associated benchmarks and on 6 December 2016, Council was deemed ‘Fit’.

The determination was based on Council’s Fit for the Future reassessment proposal, Council’s Long Term Financial Plan and other available data.  The determination was dependent on a number of strategies contained in its Long Term Financial Plan being implemented. Key results from the reassessment of Bellingen Shire Council can be found in the link below.

The Reassessment Report of all councils, including Bellingen, is published on the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future website. 
Announcement Letter from the Minister for Local Government, The Hon Paul Toole MP - 6/12/2016

BSC Submission to Government Relating to Joint Organisations

Councillor Circular dated 15 July 2016

Fit for the Future Reassessment Submission

Fit for the Future Consolidated Implementation Plan Framework - May 2016
Bellingen Shire Council - Backstory and Where to From Here - July 2016
Bellingen Shire Council Reassessment Improvement Action Plan 2016/17
Bellingen Shire Council Fit for the Future Council Reassessment Submission

Fit for the Future Reassessment Process

The Government appointed IPART to undertake an independent assessment of council proposals. IPART found that 27 councils were ‘Not Fit’ due to not meeting one or more of the financial criteria (nine of these also did not meet the scale and capacity criteria). The Government is providing the opportunity for councils that did not meet the financial criteria, and that are not subject to a merger proposal, to be reassessed. Bellingen Council is one of those councils. Other councils participating in the reassessment process include:

Sydney metropolitan:

  • Blacktown City Council
  • Campbelltown City Council

Regional NSW

  • Bellingen Shire Council
  • Clarence Valley Council
  • Gwydir Shire Council
  • Hay Shire Council*
  • Kempsey Shire Council
  • The City of Lithgow Council
  • Mid-Western Regional Council
  • Tenterfield Shire Council
  • Tweed Shire Council
  • Warrumbungle Shire Council
  • Weddin Shire Council*
  • Yass Valley Council

*Submitted a Rural Council proposal but were assessed by IPART as ‘Not Fit’ in relation to key financial criteria.

The reassessment will focus on benchmarks not previously met as well as focus on existing Improvement Action Plans. The reassessment will also consider specific issues raised by IPART in the summary assessment for each council.

The NSW Government has now provided a set of guidelines and a template that councils will need to complete. To be successful, a council’s revised Improvement Action Plan must satisfy the requirements outlined in the guidelines, as per the original IPART assessment.

Council staff are working hard to address the requirements of the reassessment process. New proposals are due to the NSW Government by Friday 15 July.

Council Reports

Fit for the Future Update to Ordinary Council Meeting held on 23 March 2016
Media Response to Announcements regarding Local Government Reform - sent to Bellinger Courier Sun only
Report - Extraordinary Council Meeting - 16 November 2015
Minutes - Extraordinary Council Meeting - 16 November 2015 

Final Submission - 18 November 2015

Bellingen Shire Council FFF Submission - 18 November 2015
Bellingen Shire Council Vote to Stand Alone - November 2015

Submission - June 2015

Bellingen Shire Council FFF Submission - 30 June 2015.pdf (PDF) (913.19 KB)
Minutes of Council's Ordinary Meeting held on 24 June 2015 - Refer Pages 40-44

View all NSW Councils submissions on the IPART website at http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Industries/Local_Govt/Fit_for_the_Future

Inquiry into NSW Government's Fit for the Future Reform Agenda
The inquiry was established to closely examine the New South Wales Government’s ‘Fit for the Future’ reform agenda for local government in this state, including the financial sustainability of the local government sector. The Committee is aware of real concerns relating to potential council amalgamations and further cost shifting, so this inquiry is timely and essential to give local government and communities the opportunity to discuss these significant reform proposals.

Historical Information (pre 30th June 2015)

Bellingen Shire Council worked hard to become ‘Fit for the Future’. 

The Fit for the Future Program is the State Government’s response to the work of the NSW Independent Local Government Review Panel’s assessment of individual councils across NSW which was a three year comprehensive independent review of local government.  

Each NSW local authority was asked to submit a Council Improvement Proposal or Merger Proposal based on the Panel’s recommendations. In Bellingen’s case, the Panel recommended that Council stand alone and be a member of a Joint Organisation, or regional grouping of Councils.

Council proposals were due by 30 June 2015 and will be reviewed by an expert panel who will report to the Government by October 2015.

What is needed

For information regarding the Fit for the Future program, please refer to http://www.fitforthefuture.nsw.gov.au/.  Here you will find out what councils, including Bellingen, need to do to submit a proposal by 30 June 2015.

FFF Story in Local Media 3 June 2015
Full page story in local media on 3 June 2015 (PDF) (497.13 KB)

Project Outline
Bellingen Shire Council - FFF Project Outline (PDF) (130.07 KB)

Summary Fact Sheets
FFF Summary Information Pack and Questionnaire - May 2015 (PDF) (118.54 KB) 
FFF Summary Fact Sheet - May 2015.pdf (PDF) (147.18 KB) 

Community Engagement
As Council moves through the Fit for the Future process, we have been undertaking discussions with community opinion leaders and our three Chambers of Commerce. The following presentations outline those discussions.

Focus Group Forum - 13 May 2015 (PDF) (3.73 MB)
External stakeholder FFF presentation 2015 (PDF) (1.74 MB) 

Independent Panel
For information on the Independent Panel including the final report, please refer to http://www.localgovernmentreview.nsw.gov.au/.

Frequently Asked Questions
Fit for the Future FAQ

Council Reports/Minutes
Minutes of Council's Ordinary Meeting held on 24 June 2015 - Refer Pages 40-44
Attachmen 9.4A: Draft Fit for the Future Submission
Minutes of Council's Ordinary Meeting held on 25 February 2015 - Refer Pages 13-29
Minutes from Council's Ordinary Meeting held on 24 September 2014 - Refer Pages 9-12