single article: New South Wales State Government Failure? An Empirical Analysis of the Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council Forced Merger
Brian Dollery and Joseph Drew
PAQ, Vol. 47 No. 2, 200-222 (2023)
Summary at a Glance: Under the NSW Government’s forced amalgamation program, the Cootamundra and Gundagai councils were merged in 2016. This paper examines the outcomes of the amalgamation by comparing the estimated outcomes prepared by NSW Government agencies and KPMG with the actual outcomes after four years post-merger. It demonstrates that the merger has failed on almost all counts.
Abstract: As part of the controversial local government structural reform program in NSW, the Cootamundra and Gundagai shire councils were forcibly amalgamated into the Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC) in 2016. Various documents and commissioned reports prepared by NSW government agencies, commercial consultants KPMG and the NSW Boundaries Commission Delegate all claimed that significant cost savings and other financial benefits would flow from the consolidated CGRC. Using data from the four post-merger financial years, in this paper we examine these claims against observed financial and operational efficiency outcomes at the CGRC. Three different analyses are conducted: aggregate accounting measures are examined, financial ratio analysis is used for performance comparison, and operational efficiency is estimated through Data Envelopment Analysis. All three analyses decisively demonstrate that the CGRC has not only failed to reap the claimed cost savings and other financial benefits, but its fiscal performance has deteriorated sharply. In sum, the CGRC represents a clear case of NSW state government policy failure.
Subscribers: Login to read this article
Guests: Subscribe to PAQ, or purchase individual article access for $10.
The article is not available for automatic download. We will email the article to you as a PDF file upon receiving your payment, typically within 24 hours.