Barnett confident on council mergers

Kate Emery
December 16, 2014, 1:44 pm

Premier Colin Barnett says he believes legislation to create a bigger City of Perth will be passed despite Labor and the Nationals publicly opposing amalgamations.

Announcing plans to introduce legislation in the new year, Mr Barnett said there was no “Plan B” if it was blocked.

He said he had not done a deal with the Nationals but was confident most people supported the creation of a City of Perth that will include the University of WA, QEII Medical Centre and Kings Park and expected Labor to support it.

Mr Barnett said the legislation would include a ward structure and a mechanism to ensure the city was not controlled by residential voters.

It is unclear if that mechanism will include vote weighting, which is used in the City of Melbourne for a similar purpose.

“Cabinet has this week approved the drafting of the Act which will lay the foundations for building a great capital,” he said.

“A bigger and stronger City of Perth will be better equipped to respond to the demands of a growing State – and better represent WA on the world stage.”

The City of Vincent wants to be part of Perth but has baulked at the prospect of vote weighting, which mayor John Carey has previously suggested could make Vincent ratepayers second class citizens.

If passed, the legislation would also clear the way for the Government to create a western suburbs super council.

That plan has been on ice until the Perth legislation is passed because some assets will move from western suburbs councils to a beefed up Perth.

City of Perth Act to create a great capital for WA

Premier and Minister’s Media Statement

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

​City of Perth Act to be drafted as part of metropolitan local government reform
Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have their own Acts of Parliament
Consultation with key stakeholders in the new year.

The State Government will draft a City of Perth Act which will establish Perth as the city’s pre-eminent council, with legislation due for introduction into State Parliament early next year.

Premier Colin Barnett said consultation with relevant parties would begin in the new year, resulting in an Act to recognise Perth as the State’s capital city and acknowledge its central role in tourism and economic development.

“Given the Government’s investment in revitalising Perth with investments such as Elizabeth Quay, the Perth City Link and Riverside, it’s timely for the City of Perth to have this special recognition,” Mr Barnett said.

“The city is the centre of business and retail activity and is the pre-eminent entertainment precinct in the State. This Act will recognise the need for it to be treated differently from other residential councils.”

The Act will also outline the City of Perth’s expanded boundaries, which will take in all of the City of Perth and the City of Vincent plus The University of Western Australia, Kings Park, the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre and the new Perth Children’s Hospital.

“It will bring several of the features that are Perth’s great selling points under one council which makes good sense from a planning and tourism point of view,” the Premier said.

“Cabinet has this week approved the drafting of the Act which will lay the foundations for building a great capital. A bigger and stronger City of Perth will be better equipped to respond to the demands of a growing State – and better represent WA on the world stage.

“It will give the city the status it should hold as Australia’s west coast capital and an increasingly important city in the Asia region.”

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said the Act was a high priority for the State Government.

The Act will be drafted in consultation with both the City of Perth and the current City of Vincent as well as relevant business, tourism and ratepayer associations.

Mr Simpson said the State Government’s plan for metropolitan local government reform was on track with reforms being progressively put in place.

Fact File
The new Act would operate in conjunction with the Local Government Act 1995
For more information, visit http://metroreform.dlg.wa.gov.au
Premier’s office – 6552 5000
Local Government Minister’s office – 6552 6600

Parliamentary Motion: Local Government Amalgamations

The Shadow Minister for Local Government, David Templeman, sent the following to CEOs,   Mayors, Presidents and Elected Members,

On Wednesday 26 November 2014, I moved the following motion:
That this house –
(a) Condemns the Premier and the Minister for Local Government for allowing, through its forced amalgamations process, some communities in the metropolitan area an opportunity to have a poll under the Dadour provisions in the Local Government Act 1995 about their local council’s future, while others have not been given that democratic right; and
(b) Further, supports all affected communities having a right to a poll on their council’s future.

Extract from Hansard

[ASSEMBLY — Wednesday, 26 November 2014] p8879b-8894a

Mr David Templeman; Mrs Michelle Roberts; Mr Dave Kelly; Mr Bill Johnston; Mr Tony Simpson

[1] LOCAL GOVERNMENT — AMALGAMATIONS — POLL PROVISIONS

Motion MR D.A. TEMPLEMAN (Mandurah) [5.05 pm]: I move — That this house — (a) condemns the Premier and the Minister for Local Government for allowing, through its forced amalgamation process, some communities in the metropolitan area an opportunity to have a poll under the Dadour provisions in the Local Government Act 1995 about their local council’s future, while others have not been given that democratic right; and (b) further, supports all affected communities having a right to a poll on their council’s future.

Mr D.A. TEMPLEMAN: This house has debated numerous motions about the government’s forced amalgamation process in the metropolitan area. It has been an elongated, mishmash of goalpost changing, deceitful tactics and deceitful actions by the government and the minister. It has been a flawed process. No economic business case or model has been presented to support its purpose and it is based on a broken promise to the people of Western Australia prior to the March 2013 election.

The ACTING SPEAKER: Excuse me, member. I just need to direct you that you cannot call a minister of the Crown deceitful. You asserted that. I am just warning you, that is all.

Mr D.A. TEMPLEMAN: I will amend that to a deceitful government. We know the history of this process, we have gone through it on numerous occasions and I am not going to go through it again. A number of weeks ago, the Local Government Advisory Board made recommendations to the Minister for Local Government about what local government should look like post-2015. The board recommended that a range of councils either merge or dissolve and split into other entities through amalgamation or boundary changes. The minister indicated that he has accepted all but two of the board’s recommendations. We have been left with some communities in the metropolitan area affected by the changes to local government that will have an opportunity to take part in a poll through the Dadour provisions of the Local Government Act, which are triggered and enacted when certain things occur. The Dadour provisions were inserted into the act some decades ago —

Mr A.J. Simpson: It was in 1974.

Mr D.A. TEMPLEMAN: Sorry—in 1974. The minister and Premier argued in previous debates that the Dadour provisions are undemocratic. They have stated that on a number of occasions. Continue reading

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