Council Mergers – Good or Bad?

Bob Such MP from Happy Valley way was on Leon Byner’s talk back show on 5AA yesterday extolling again the virtues of Council Amalgamations.

Bob reminds me of my dog when he gets hold of a bone. He never wants to let go of it.

There is a logic to merging councils in theory and I remember this being the argument when, as a citizen down Bob’s neck of the woods, the then Happy Valley, Noarlunga and Willunga Councils amalgamated to form Onkaparinga. What I also remember is wholesale difficulties and disenfranchised districts, particularly those we could classify as bush areas. I also remember our rates going up and not down, which is the reverse of what we where told would happen.

There is equally a logic that small is good in that (up to a point of course) the smaller the council area the more engaged you are with your community. Living and serving in Unley is something I would much rather do than Onkaparinga. And Unley is a smaller council so I am presuming would come under Bob’s scrutiny.

Having lived in both areas I believe (and I did before joining the organisation) that Unley services it’s residents and rate payers better than I ever experienced down there. In saying that I am not putting them down, I am merely saying Unley does it better.

By the way, when I look at the figures he is banding about regarding staff to residents ratios I would have said we fair pretty well with Onkaparinga, who he holds up as the shining light.

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