Legal action against the WA Government’s plans to slash the number of local councils in the metropolitan area is expected to be officially launched in the Supreme Court today.
The ABC has confirmed the four parties to the legal action will be Vincent resident Ian Ker, the City of South Perth, the City of Subiaco and the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale.
Other councils will provide financial support for the action but will not be named as parties.
The lawyer acting for the group, John Hammond, said the action would be against Minister for Local Government Tony Simpson and members of the Local Government Advisory Board, which is currently considering the Government’s proposed boundary changes.
Mr Hammond said he was expecting to lodge papers in the Supreme Court tomorrow seeking a judicial review.
He said the basis for the action was the Government had not complied with the Local Government Act and therefore the process was invalid.
“The argument to the Supreme Court that the State Government and the Local Government Advisory Board have not complied with the Local Government Act is a strong argument,” Mr Hammond said.
The Local Government Advisory Board is expected to report to Mr Simpson this month on the proposed boundary changes.
The ABC understands the parties to the legal action may seek an injunction to stop that report being considered by the Minister, which could impact on the Government’s timeline for implementing the mergers of metropolitan councils.
Premier Colin Barnett has previously said he was confident there were no grounds for a legal challenge.
“I can’t see that a legal challenge would succeed but I just urge people in local government to look forward and not look back,” Mr Barnett said in March.
Perth mayors previously threatened to walk away from the process unless more money was found to fund it.
The state budget set aside $60 million for amalgamations – but $45 million of that is in the form of loans, which must be paid back with interest.