City of Auburn
|City of Auburn
New South Wales
Location in Metropolitan Sydney
|• Density||2,527.88/km2 (6,547.2/sq mi)|
|Abolished||12 May 2016|
|Area||32 km2 (12.4 sq mi)|
|Administrator||Mr Viv May|
|Website||City of Auburn|
The City of Auburn was a local government area in the Greater Western Sydney region of New South Wales, Australia. The area that was under administration prior to its 2016 merger is located about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) west of the Sydney central business district. The area's population is culturally diverse.
Major attractions and features in the area include the Gallipoli Mosque, located in the suburb of Auburn. The Mosque is modelled upon the great mosques of Istanbul. The suburb of Sydney Olympic Park, the location of the main venues of the 2000 Summer Olympics, now attracts many visitors to its sporting and cultural events.
A 2015 review of local government boundaries by the NSW Government Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal recommended that the City of Auburn merge with adjoining councils. The government considered two proposals. The first proposed a merger of parts of Auburn, Holroyd and Parramatta to form a new council with an area of 72 square kilometres (28 sq mi) and support a population of approximately 219,000. The second proposed a merger of parts of Parramatta, Auburn, The Hills, Hornsby, and Holroyd to form a new council with an area of 82 square kilometres (32 sq mi) and support a population of approximately 215,725.
On 10 February 2016 the Auburn City Council was suspended by the Minister for Local Government, and an administrator appointed. A public enquiry was held into allegations of "councillors misusing their positions." Prior to the suspension, the Mayor of Auburn City Council was Councillor Le Lam.
On 12 May 2016, as part of a NSW State Government program of local government reform, Auburn City Council was abolished. Parts of Auburn City Council, Parramatta City Council, and Holroyd City Council merged to form the Cumberland Council as a new local government area. The remainder of the Auburn City Council area was merged into the City of Parramatta Council.
Prior to European settlement, the Wangal Aboriginal people lived around the Auburn area. European settlement began in the 1790s. The Auburn area was a farming area, known as "Liberty Plains".
Auburn was proclaimed as a borough on 19 February 1892. Silverwater was added in 1906. On 1 January 1949, the (by now) Municipalities of Auburn and Lidcombe were amalgamated to form the new Auburn Municipality. In 1993, a change in the law meant that "municipality" ceased to be a legal category of local government area. Auburn Municipal Council became "Auburn Council", and the same name was used to refer to the former Municipality of Auburn.
A project by Auburn Council to seek city status began in April 2006. A special poll held on 13 September 2008 found a large proportion of the electorate supported the project. On 24 June 2009 Governor of New South Wales Marie Bashir issued a proclamation granting Auburn city status, which was gazetted on 17 July 2009.
- Deputy Mayor Salim Mehajer
There was controversy when the Deputy Mayor of Auburn, Salim Mehajer was charged with threatening the father of one of the victims in the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis. He was investigated over a conflict of interest when he voted on Council matters regarding rezoning where it was alleged he had pecuniary interests. As a result, Mehajer was given a four-month suspension from Council on 29 January 2016. On 10 February 2016, the Council was suspended while a public enquiry into allegations of "councillors misusing their positions." was conducted. An administrator was appointed to manage the affairs of the Council in the interim. On 18 February the administrator reversed decisions for two major developments that were set to benefit Mehajer.
Mehajer then text messaged 2 council members, Irene Simms and George Campbell. He accused them of being jealous of his success, possibly suffering from 'tall poppy syndrome', and referred to them as "dole bludgers", which both denied. He inferred that they had 'racial' issues with him, by writing "... someone with an 'olive complexion' lodging a development application, I/we are grossly targeted,". Simms said she has "never been on the dole, and they were "very offensive words from a bitter little boy". Campbell said "The term 'dole bludger' is a term of abuse, an insult, ..." and "The last time I was on unemployment benefits was well over 30 years ago."
Mehajer may have lost up to $10 million due to the overturned rulings regarding sales and zoning of land. He immediately rebutted these saying he made $12 million in half an hour, as the overturned land sale will now mean that the properties will be sold to him at a lower price due to a previous contract. It is understood that the Council (now under Administration) holds that no sale has ever taken place.
Auburn City Council was the subject of a mass public petition on the change.org website calling for the sacking of the Council, banning of real estate agents and developers, and the removal of Deputy Mayor Mehajer for serious governance issues and alleged corruption in local government. The Council was suspended on 10 February and a public enquiry established to investigate these allegations.
Amalgamation into Cumberland Council
On 12 May 2016, Auburn City Council was abolished by the NSW Government. Parts of Auburn City Council, Parramatta City Council, and Holroyd City Council merged to form the Cumberland Council as a new local government area. The remainder of the Auburn City Council area was merged into the City of Parramatta Council. This was done as part of a NSW State Government program of local government reform that saw the creation of 19 new local councils.
Suburbs in the local government area
Suburbs within the Auburn City boundaries are:
- Regents Park
- Sydney Olympic Park
- Wentworth Point
Homebush Bay was a suburb but is now divided between Sydney Olympic Park, Wentworth Point and Lidcombe.
At the 2011 Census, there were 73,738 people in the Auburn local government area, of these 51.8% were male and 48.2% were female. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 0.6% of the population. The median age of people in the Auburn area was 31 years, which is significantly lower than the national median of 37 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 19.7% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 8.5% of the population. Of people in the area aged 15 years and over, 53.2% were married and 8.9% were either divorced or separated.
Population growth in the Auburn area between the 2001 Census and the 2006 Census was 16.31%; and in the subsequent five years to the 2011 Census, population growth was 13.51%. When compared with total population growth of Australia for the same periods, being 5.78% and 8.32% respectively, population growth in Auburn local government area was double the national average. The median weekly income for residents within the Auburn area was lower than the national average, being one of the factors that place the City in an area of social disadvantage.
At the 2011 Census, the proportion of residents in the Auburn local government area who stated their ancestry as Chinese, or as Lebanese, was in excess of six times the national average. The proportion of residents who stated an affiliation with Islam was in excess of eleven times the national average. Meanwhile, as at the Census date, the area was linguistically diverse, with Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Turkish, and Korean languages spoken in households, and ranged from five times to 22 times the national averages.
|Selected historical census data for Auburn local government area|
|Population||Estimated residents on Census night||55,851||64,959||73,738|
|LGA rank in terms of size within New South Wales|
|% of New South Wales population||1.07%|
|% of Australian population||0.30%||0.33%||0.34%|
|Cultural and language diversity|
(other than English)
|Median weekly incomes|
|Personal income||Median weekly personal income||A$343||A$420|
|% of Australian median income||73.6%||72.8%|
|Family income||Median weekly family income||A$906||A$1,161|
|% of Australian median income||88.2%||78.4%|
|Household income||Median weekly household income||A$991||A$1,160|
|% of Australian median income||84.6%||94.0%|
Final composition and election method
Auburn Council was composed of ten Councillors elected proportionally as two separate wards, each electing five Councillors. All Councillors are elected for a fixed four-year term of office. The Mayor is elected by the Councillors at the first meeting of the Council. The most recent election was held on 8 September 2012. The council was suspended on 10 February 2016. The final makeup of the Council, prior to suspension, was as follows:
|Liberal Party of Australia||3|
|Australian Labor Party||2|
|Residents Action Group for Auburn Area||2|
The suspended Council, elected in 2012, in order of election by ward, was:
|First Ward||Ronney Oueik||Liberal|
|Semra Batik-Dundar||Residents Action Group|
|Salim Mehajer||Independent||Deputy Mayor|||
|Second Ward||Ned Attie||Liberal|
|Irene Simms||Residents Action Group|
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Auburn (C)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- "Merger proposal: Auburn City Council (part), Holroyd City Council (part), Parramatta City Council (part)" (PDF). Government of New South Wales. January 2016. p. 7. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- "Merger proposal: Parramatta City Council (part), Auburn City Council (part), The Hills Shire Council (part), Hornsby Shire Council (part), Holroyd City Council (part)" (PDF). Government of New South Wales. January 2016. p. 8. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- Auburn City Council (2011) Publication Guide, p.4 (pdf)
- McNally, Lucy (10 February 2016). "Salim Mehajer: Auburn deputy mayor suspended for failing to disclose financial interests". ABC News. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- McNally, Lucy (10 February 2016). "Salim Mehajer's Auburn Council suspended by NSW Government during public inquiry". ABC News. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- "Auburn Council administrator reverses decisions set to benefit Salim Mehajer". ABC News. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
- In Australia Unemployment benefits are commonly called the 'dole'.
- Kidd, Jessica (police reporter) (18 February 2016). "Salim Mehajer rebukes 'dole bludger' Auburn council colleagues after planning decisions overturned". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
I'd like to remind the two of you 'dole bludgers' that it is I, and indeed people like myself that is [sic] paying for that slice of bread and capsule of butter sitting on your kitchen bench." - "Both of you seem to always hold such negative ideologies and have set 'anti-development' ideals, yet when it comes to me or someone with an 'olive complexion' lodging a development application, I/we are grossly targeted,- Mehajer
- Tran, Cindy (18 February 2016). "Salim Mehajer 'loses $10million in one meeting'". Daily Mail (Australia)-online. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Robertson, James (18 February 2016). "Salim Mehajer defiant after Auburn council decisions overturned". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Staff (18 August 2015). "Calls for Auburn deputy mayor's sacking after lavish wedding". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- daniel.kielly. "Public inquiry into Auburn Council". www.olg.nsw.gov.au (Press release). Retrieved 8 March 2016. (pdf version)
- "New Council Announced – Cumberland Council". www.auburn.nsw.gov.au. Auburn City Council. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- Saulwick, Jacob; Kembrey, Melanie; McKenny, Leisha (14 May 2016). "NSW council amalgamations announced". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "Auburn (A)". 2001 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Auburn (A)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Candidates in Sequence of Election Report: Auburn City Council: First Ward" (PDF). Local Government Elections 2012. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "Candidates in Sequence of Election Report: Auburn City Council: Second Ward" (PDF). Local Government Elections 2012. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.