Description: C:\Users\stivalak\Desktop\Business Paper Backgrounds\Council business papers3.jpgLiverpool City Council






Council Agenda









Ordinary Council Meeting

25 March 2015




















Francis Greenway Centre

170 George Street










Chief Financial Officer

CFO 08           Fit for the Future - Community Consultation.................................................... 3...........  



Ordinary Meeting 25 March 2015

Chief Financial Officer


CFO 08

Fit for the Future - Community Consultation


Strategic Direction

Leading Proactive Council

Position Council as an industry leader, delivering best practice and innovation

Key Policy

Long-Term Financial Plan

File Ref


Report By

Hiba Soueid - Manager Corporate Strategy and Performance

Approved By

Gary Grantham - Chief Financial Officer



Executive Summary


This report recommends that Council carry out community consultation to inform its Fit for the Future submission. The consultation is aimed at gathering feedback on a range of options for the future of Liverpool City and allowing the community to have input into formulating Liverpool’s final submission.


Fit for the Future is a reform process which is aimed at ensuring NSW councils are financially sound, operating efficiently and in a strong position to guide growth and deliver quality services into the future.


As part of Fit for the Future each council is being asked to:


·    Review its situation, starting with whether the council has scale and capacity to meet the challenges ahead

·    Prepare a Fit for the Future submission by 30 June 2015. This submission must be endorsed by Council.

·    Make the transition to a new structure by September 2016 or implement an improvement plan


In order to demonstrate financial sustainability, Council’s must outline their performance against the following Fit for the Future criteria:


·    Scale and capacity

·    Financial sustainability

·    Infrastructure management

·    Efficiency


Council’s internal assessments have found that by implementing operational improvement activities and efficiency savings, Council will meet the benchmarks provided for the financial sustainability benchmarks by 2016/17, well within the Fit for the Future time-frame of three years. This demonstrates that Liverpool City Council is in a sound financial position as a stand-alone option.

Fit for the Future also proposes a range of structural changes to Councils with the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s (ILGRP) preferred option for Liverpool being an amalgamation of Liverpool-Fairfield, an alternative option being proposed of forming a joint organisation with Liverpool, Bankstown, Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly.


Council must clearly demonstrate that it has considered these options in its Fit for the Future submission.


Following release of the Fit for the Future templates, Council engaged SGS Economics and Planning to undertake independent research into a range of merger options for Liverpool City Council. SGS was tasked with examining potential options from financial, strategic, and capacity perspectives. The study included strategic analysis of functional regions, high-level financial modeling, and evaluation of the following options:


·    Liverpool stands alone

·    Liverpool and Fairfield merger

·    Liverpool and Camden merger

·    Liverpool, Camden and Fairfield merger


It is proposed that community feedback be sought on the above options with Liverpool standing alone being articulated as Council’s preferred option.




That Council:


1.       Undertakes community consultation to seek community feedback on a range of amalgamation options, with Liverpool stands alone being Council’s preferred option.


2.       Receives a further report outlining results of the community consultation process.





Liverpool is experiencing rapid growth and high levels of investment as the regional city of South Western Sydney. However the Independent Local Government Review Panel has recommended that Liverpool consider amalgamation or form a joint organisation with neighbouring councils.


There are opportunities and challenges associated with amalgamation options. Liverpool Council investigated multiple options including an independent assessment of a range of different merger options.


The study completed by SGS Economics and Planning found that:


“Given the financial uncertainty associated with merger options a key focus should be on the strategic and planning capacity of either the stand alone or merger options.


Liverpool Council already plays a significant role in the sub-region, with the LGA hosting the site for the second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek, and containing the Liverpool Centre which is the key regional centre in the south west. The Council is already well positioned to extend its influence with these two major assets. The LGA also has strong internal functional linkages.


On the other hand, a merger with Fairfield and Camden would establish a powerful sub regional authority, responsible for the residential growth areas of the South West growth centre and opportunities associated with the second airport, and providing significant leverage to manage the more disadvantaged Fairfield. There are strong functional linkages observed between these LGAs (almost as strong as just the Liverpool and Fairfield option).


The lesser merger options, with either Camden or Fairfield, both contain ‘downside’ in terms of cost obligations for growth and relative disadvantage respectively, perhaps without sufficient ‘upside’. To some extent a merger with Fairfield only, would merely recognise current linkages but would not be sufficiently forward looking given the new growth fronts to the west. The mega south-west option of Liverpool, Camden and Campbelltown appears to be a difficult ‘fit’ as it includes multiple major service hubs and implies a massive and growing population with significant future infrastructure obligations.” (Fit for the Future – options for Liverpool, pg.9)


Financial Sustainability


In developing its Delivery Program and Operational Plan and Budget 2015-16, Council undertook a range of internal assessments to determine whether it is able to meet the Fit for the Future benchmarks for financial sustainability. Council’s assessments found that Council is able to meet the Fit for the Future financial performance indicators by 2016/17 as demonstrated below:















Operating Performance Ratio

Benchmark  >=0%













Own Source Operating Ratio

Benchmark  >60%














Building & Infrastructure Renewals Ratio

Benchmark >100%














Debt Service Ratio

Benchmark <20%







Capital Expenditure Ratio

Benchmark >1.10













Infrastructure Backlog Ratio*

Benchmark <2%













Operating expenditure per capita

Benchmark - trending downwards








This demonstrates that as a stand-alone option. Liverpool is financially sustainable and viable in the future.


Council’s submission


Council is required to prepare a proposal outlining how it has scale and capacity which is in line with the outcomes of Fit for the Future. In doing so, Council must complete one of the following:


·    Template 1 – for councils who are planning to merge with their neighbours

·    Template 2 – for councils who have appropriate scale and capacity and are preparing an Improvement Proposal


The submission must be endorsed by Council and completed by 30 June 2015.


Community Consultation and Engagement


It is recommended that Council carry out community consultation to inform its Fit for the Future submission. The consultation is aimed at gathering feedback on a range of options for the future of Liverpool City and allowing the community to have input into formulating Liverpool’s final submission.


It is proposed that the community engagement material outlines:


·    Information on the following four options:

Liverpool to stand alone

Liverpool-Fairfield merger

Liverpool-Camden merger

Liverpool-Camden-Fairfield merger


·    Information on Council’s current performance against the benchmarks and projected future performance

·    Information on improvement initiatives being undertaken by Council in recent times.


The following methods are proposed to seek community feedback:


·    A webpage dedicated to Fit for the Future

·    Information on Liverpool Listens

·    Newsletter mail out to all the households

·    An online community survey

·    Advertising in the local news and on social media

It is anticipated that the consultation period will begin in early April and run for a four week period with a further report to Council being provided once the consultation process has ended.




Economic and Financial

Facilitate economic development.


Environmental and Sustainability

There are no environmental and sustainability considerations.

Social and Cultural

There are no social and cultural considerations.

Civic Leadership and Governance

Undertake communication practices with the community and stakeholders across a range of media.






1.         SGS Planning and Economics - Fit for the Future - Options for Liverpool (to be provided electronically on the LCC Website)View  


CFO 08

Fit for the Future - Community Consultation

Attachment 1

SGS Planning and Economics - Fit for the Future - Options for Liverpool (to be provided electronically on the LCC Website)