A forcibly-merged council in Sydney’s west has come under fire after it was revealed that it will no longer be able to provide waste services to more than 1,000 commercial and trade customers following a decision to outsource domestic waste services and sell its fleet of garbage trucks.
Cumberland Council, which was formed following the forced merger of Holroyd Council with Auburn and parts of Parramatta, has admitted in council business papers that as a result of the controversial decision by NSW Government-appointed administrator Viv May to outsource domestic waste services the council would no longer be able to provide services to commercial clients.
In June, Mr May awarded a $68 million contract to United Resource Management to run domestic waste services for 10 years, despite admitting a personal conflict of interest.
“The sale of Council’s fleet means Council will not be able to service its trade and commercial waste customers in the future,” the council document states (see attachment for full document).
Mr May is expected to use tonight’s council meeting — the final one before democracy is restored with the election of new councillors next month — to approve a plan to seek expressions of interest from private waste operators to also take over Cumberland Council’s commercial waste operations.
United Services Union general secretary Graeme Kelly, whose union represents more than 30,000 local government workers across the state, said the NSW Government needed to urgently intervene to prevent the loss of further services ahead of new councillors being elected.
“Just a week after Premier Gladys Berejiklian publicly abandoned the NSW Government’s failed policy of forcibly amalgamating councils, one of her government’s administrators is making a last-ditch effort to sell off community services before council elections can take place next month,” Mr Kelly said.
“During the past month, this unelected and unaccountable administrator has locked ratepayers into a costly outsourcing arrangement for the next decade, decided to sell the fleet of garbage collection vehicles, and now intends to do the same with commercial waste services.
“There are more than 1,000 businesses that will be impacted by this decision, yet there has been no consultation with them, the broader community, or workers.
“Having an appointed administrator making major decisions on the eve of elections, including the awarding of multi-million dollar contracts and the sale of council assets, is completely unacceptable and is one of the reasons communities across the state fought so hard against these forced mergers.
“Premier Berejiklian and Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton need to urgently intervene to stop the unelected administrator of Cumberland Council from selling assets, cutting services, or entering contracts, with all decisions instead held over until a democratically elected council retakes the reins.”