Day Breaks Ranks on Council Mergers

Daniel Emerson
October 23, 2014, 1:35 pm

Senior Barnett minister John Day breaks ranks to back ratepayer input into Kalamunda merger plan.
John Day, one of the most senior ministers of the Barnett Government, has broken ranks over the proposed council merger in his electorate of Kalamunda by arguing it needs to be put to ratepayers.

The proposed mergers of the Shire of Kalamunda with the City of Belmont and Shire of Mundaring with the City of Swan were among councils Colin Barnett yesterday announced would be achieved via boundary adjustments rather than amalgamations.

Under boundary adjustments, two local governments are brought together by “adjusting” one of their borders around both of them while reducing the other’s down to nothing, and ratepayers do not get a say.

Amalgamations are done under the Local Government Act, giving ratepayers the right to vote, and can be vetoed if a majority of once council’s electors turn up to vote ‘no’.
BATTLE FOR BURSWOOD BREWS

WESTERN SUPER CITY ON HOLD, NATS BLOCK VISION

SEE THE NEW COUNCIL BOUNDARIES

THE NEW COUNCIL BOUNDARIES EXPLAINED
Mr Day, who is Planning Minister and Leader of the Government in the Lower House, said he could understand the concerns of ratepayers in his electorate over not getting a vote on boundary changes.

“I do share their concern about the proposed process to bring Kalamunda and Belmont together and I’ve made that very clear over the last couple of months and in my view it does need to be the more equitable and fairer process of the amalgamation method being used rather than one local government completely absorbing the other,” he said.

“So that’s a work in progress. I’ll be working with the Shire of Kalamunda and within the Government to get what I think is a fair and equitable outcome for the Shire of Kalamunda and the same applies also for the Shire of Mundaring in the proposed merger with the City of Swan.”

Asked why he accepted the model as a member of Cabinet, Mr Day suggested the support only extended to the new entities – not the method by which they were to be created.

“What has been said in fact is that the Government accepts the boundaries which are proposed (by the Local Government Advisory Board), with the exception of around UWA and the QEII medical centre, but that each individual proposal will be considered on a case by case basis as to how it is implemented,” he said.

Mr Day said it was “not completely consistent” for the LGAB to recommend some councils be merged via boundary changes while others be achieved via an amalgamation.

“That’s not for me to explain but it’s for me to deal with as a local member,” he said.

“It is a significant local issue in the Kalamunda district. I’m very well aware of that.”

Mr Day said there were advantages to the Shire of Kalamunda merging with the City of Belmont – such as Perth Airport and surrounding industrial land being located in one local government, which was better from a planning standpoint.

“There is a good rationale as to the proposed outcome. How we get there is really important and I have always said it needs to be fair and equitable to all and that’s something I am continuing to work on,” he said.

WA Government to legislate to expand City of Perth

WA Government to legislate to expand City of Perth, confer special powers
Updated Sat at 6:30amSat 18 Oct 2014, 6:30am
The City of Perth boundaries may be expanded to include Burswood and UWA under government plans. (By Florence Roca)
RELATED STORY: Perth will not get Burswood in proposed council boundaries

RELATED STORY: Liberal infighting over Perth taking Burswood

RELATED STORY: Simpson, Barnett clash over boundaries reform advice

The City of Perth will grow to include the University of WA (UWA) and the City of Vincent under legislation being planned by the State Government.

The move would also see Perth get special powers to recognise it as a capital city.

Premier Colin Barnett had previously called for the City of Perth to be expanded to include some of the key assets it had been lobbying for, including UWA and QEII Medical Centre.

But it is understood the Local Government Advisory Board had not recommended these areas in its review of council boundaries.

Mr Barnett said today legislative change would be needed to properly recognise the city as the state’s capital, similar to what had been done in other states.

“So there’s a number of aspects, there is City of Melbourne legislation and other states also have specialist legislation for their capital cities,” he said.

“But yes, we are looking to legislate.”

City of Perth and Burswood

ABC News – By Jessica Strutt

The City of Perth looks set to be the loser under final recommendations given to the WA Government on new council boundaries.

The ABC has confirmed the City of Perth will not get some of the key assets it has been lobbying for, including the lucrative Burswood peninsula where the casino is located and the new sports stadium is being built.

Both the State Government and the City of Perth had put forward proposals to significantly expand the capital city’s boundaries to include landmarks such as Kings Park, the University of Western Australia and most of the Burswood peninsula.

The board has, however, recommended to Local Government Minister Tony Simpson that the Burswood peninsula stay with an amalgamated City of South Perth and Town of Victoria Park.

Victoria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughan said he felt hopeful they would get to keep Burswood.

“We feel like we put up a strong community effort to maintain the peninsula,” he said.

“[We feel] confident the board will follow its previous decisions that say the river is the natural boundary.”

But it is understood the Local Government Advisory Board has recommended UWA go within the new City of Nedlands boundaries.

At the moment the UWA campus is split between three separate local governments.

UWA vice chancellor Paul Johnson expressed concern about the proposal.

“If today’s media reports about local government reform are correct, they are concerning for the University of Western Australia,” he said.

“We believe placing the university into the City Of Perth is the best way to ensure the people of Western Australia can fully reap the benefits of having a world-class university.”