Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins has today released the report of the independent Transition Auditors appointed to review the separation of Sunbury from the City of Hume.
After reviewing the situation and consulting extensively, John Watson and Frank Vincent AO QC have recommended that the Government does not proceed further with the separation of Sunbury from Hume.
Mr Watson and Mr Vincent expressed concern about the financial viability of a new Sunbury Council, advising that a separation would risk Sunbury residents facing significantly higher rate increases, a reduction in services and significant delays in providing much needed community facilities.
They also advised that the terms of separation proposed by the previous Liberal Government were inequitable, inappropriate and with legal uncertainties, including:
- “a real risk that rates in a new Sunbury municipality will substantially increase for many years to come or, alternatively, the types and levels of services the new council will be able to deliver will be significantly impacted”
- “annual rate rise of 14.2%” to maintain current services
- “the $10 million investment in the Sunbury Global Learning Centre delayed beyond the first ten years”
- “no information was provided in the ballot pack distributed by the VEC on the practical implications of a vote either way”.
Ms Hutchins will now consider the recommendations from the auditors as they relate to the separation of Sunbury from the City of Hume.
Following serious concerns about the terms of separation proposed by the previous Government, the Transition Auditors were appointed in April to advise on the financial and non-financial implications of the separation.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins
“We want the best outcome for the residents of Sunbury and Hume. Unfortunately the previous Liberal Government did not share the same concern.”
“I will now consider the recommendations of the Transition Auditors carefully.”
“I want to thank all of the residents from Sunbury and Hume who have made submissions on the separation proposal and assure them that the views of the community are being taken into account.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020