With at least four plans, reports and reviews into various aspects of local government begun over the past two years, councils are coming under scrutiny from all angles.
Probably more than ever.
While Local Government Minister Don Page has postponed any boundary changes for now, when the Independent Local Government Review Panel report is delivered everything will be back on the table.
The latest look at the accountability of councils from the auditor-general suggests they have been left unchecked for too long.
While there is no doubt councils already have strict requirements when it comes to auditing the books and making their financial situation transparent, the punishment for those that do the wrong thing is virtually non-existent.
Comparative information can also be hard for the general public to obtain and even harder to understand.
Although the Division of Local Government releases an annual report comparing the state’s 152 councils, most of the information is financial and wading through the lengthy document is not easy.
Unfortunately there is no My Council website following in the footsteps of the successful My School and My Hospitals websites which present relevant comparative information in a way that anyone can understand.
Orange councillors and staff often say things such as the city’s road quality is on par with other council areas, but residents have no way of objectively comparing Orange to other council areas except through their own observations.
Councillors also often liken the council to a business - Orange’s biggest some say - with themselves as board members and ratepayers the shareholders.
But while shareholders receive annual reports delivered to their letter box, it’s up to ratepayers to seek out and attempt to understand information about their council’s performance for themselves.