WA Council Amalgamations

ABC News

Another senior West Australian Liberal MP has broken ranks to openly attack the State Government on council amalgamations, accusing it of using “trickery” and deliberately “misleading” constituents.

The member for South Perth, John McGrath, who is also a parliamentary secretary to Premier Colin Barnett, says the process the Government is using to combine the South Perth and Victoria Park councils robs residents of their democratic rights.

Last night he addressed a community rally of 400 residents in his electorate, where concerns were raised about the Government’s plan.

Mr McGrath says the two councils were supposed to merge, but the Government changed the goal posts at the 11th hour, meaning the City of South Perth would now be abolished and swallowed up by the Town of Victoria Park.

“I urged the meeting to come out very strongly and oppose what the Government is doing in this amalgamation process, because I think the people of South Perth have been led up the garden path,” he said.

“It is trickery. The City of South Perth has been led up the garden path.

“They were urged all the way through the process by the minister to ‘keep going, you’re going in the right direction, you’re doing a good job, it’s going to be a good outcome’, and then suddenly in January this year they were told, ‘sorry, the goal posts have changed’.”

Two other Liberal MPs criticised the amalgamation plan last month.

Former Liberal minister Simon O’Brien accused the Government of “peddling lies” over the amalgamations, saying any suggestion they are not being forced is “tripe”.

The member for the South Metropolitan region told Parliament he did not support the Government’s proposal for the Burswood Peninsula to become part of the City of Perth.

Liberal MP Nick Goiran has also raised concerns about the plan being considered by the Local Government Advisory Board.

WSA Circular to members

Hello to all our members and supporters.

Although it is a while since we last contacted you, it is now time to consider the future activities of Western Suburbs Alliance (WSA). WSA was originally formed to “Represent the interests of, and provide information on planning and local government amalgamation issues to residents and ratepayers” of the Western Suburbs and to support various independent candidates, and what they stood for, at the 2013 State elections.

We now find ourselves with a different problem and WSA is in a strong position to promote our opposition to the Premier’s new political stance. As you are aware the Barnett government has gone back on its election promise of “no forced local government amalgamations” and is now proceeding to force council amalgamations on the Western Australian communities within the greater metropolitan area.

To justify this stance the Premier and the Minister for Local Government have decreed that what they are now planning is simply a matter of boundary changes and therefore cannot be seen as local government amalgamations. We see this as arrogant duplicity and a direct about face from what was, we believe, a very firm election commitment a little over 12 months ago not to force such amalgamations.

Whilst we do not believe we are able to oppose this high handed approach by Premier Barnett and Minister Simpson in the greater metropolitan area, we do believe that WSA is the ideal group to specifically oppose such a push by the Premier for amalgamation of Western Suburbs councils. This is because even the Premier cannot argue that an amalgamation of seven western suburbs councils cannot simply be seen as boundary changes but must be recognised as amalgamation of such into a Group of 7 (G7) or a Group of 5 (G5).

It is our intention to utilise WSA to embark on a fundraising drive to enable us to raise sufficient funds to enter into an advertising drive to educate the public about this dishonesty. We will endeavour to force the Premier to resolve the future local government status of the Western Suburbs by ensuring that the public are able to vote on the matter of local government amalgamations through a general poll of all western suburbs ratepayers.

Such a poll would be required to be conducted in accordance with the “Dadour provisions” of the Local Government Act. Those provisions require, in any Local Government area, that 50% of all electors must turnout at a Poll to vote on the future of their Local Government and that if 50% +1 of those required to vote oppose the suggested new regime for any particular Local Government within the Western Suburbs then the proposed amalgamation of the Western Suburbs Councils cannot proceed.

We believe that such a poll would easily defeat the forced amalgamation issue in the Western Suburbs and that our Local Government Councils will then be able to continue, as they are at present, to serve their ratepayers with the same level of service and efficiency as has been the case in the past. In this manner massive additional costs will be avoided and relevant building by-laws will continue to serve the public interest (not just property developers) as has been the case in the past.

As mentioned previously, such opposition by us will require both manpower and financial support. May we, therefore, sincerely request your help. If you are able to help with letterbox deliveries in your area please contact us by using our email address as shown below. More importantly, your monetary assistance by joining or renewing your membership of Western Suburbs Alliance would be of great assistance to us.

Finally we would also ask that you do not hesitate to contact us with suggestions.

With best wishes,

Ken Eastwood

Western Suburbs Alliance Inc.

Thursday 28th August 2014

WSA Public Forum Subiaco 26 November 2012- a presentation by Max Hipkins

Amalgamation and loss of identity – A presentation by Max Hipkins

 The recently released Final Report of the Metropolitan Local Government Review, known as the Robson Report, has recommended the amalgamation of seven western suburbs councils into one consolidated local government, with a combined population of around 80,000 people.  If this was to eventuate, it would result in the loss of identity of all communities involved.  I would like to illustrate this by looking at just two of the affected cities – Subiaco and Nedlands.  It would be possible to compare other local governments within the western suburbs to the same effect. Continue reading

The Financial Implications of Local Government Amalgamations – WSA Public Forum 26 November 2012

Written by Ken Eastwood 

The Metropolitan Local Government Review conducted by the panel led by

Professor Alan Robson contains some 30 recommendations regarding the amalgamation of Metropolitan Perth’s 30 Local Government Councils to either 12 super Councils (option A) or 16 super Councils (Option B).

It’s important to note that neither the Robson Report nor Minister for Local Government has suggested that any savings will follow from these recommendations or that there will be any reductions in our rates.  The only person to claim this is the Premier.

The only example of amalgamation we have is the recent voluntary amalgamation of the Geraldton and Greenough Councils.  In that instance, rather than enjoying a reduction in rates, the rates increased by a massive 23%.

There are suggestions in some quarters that fewer councils will result in savings. In fact Robson doesn’t claim this or provide any evidence of cost savings. Continue reading