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’.
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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.

Local Government Reform Decision

22 October 2014
The State Government today announced its decision on reform for Perth’s metropolitan local governments.

It has foreshadowed a City of Perth Act to recognise the State capital and its intention to cut the number of local governments from 30 to 16.

Premier Colin Barnett and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson briefed metropolitan local government Mayors, Presidents and Chief Executive Officers this morning before releasing the full report prepared by the Local Government Advisory Board.

Details are available on the Metropolitan Reform website.

The State Government has announced that the following local governments will be joined by boundary adjustments:

City of Swan and Shire of Mundaring to form City of Swan
City of Bayswater and Town of Bassendean to form City of Bayswater
City of Belmont and Shire of Kalamunda to form City of Belmont
City of Subiaco and Town of Cambridge to form City of Subiaco
City of Armadale and the north of the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale to form City of Armadale
Shire of Murray and the south of the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale to form Shire of Murray
City of Gosnells and City of Canning to form City of Gosnells
A modified City of Stirling
A modified City of Melville
The report recommends six local governments be amalgamated into three:

City of South Perth and Town of Victoria Park to form City of South Park
City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle to form City of Fremantle
City of Kwinana and City of Cockburn to form City of Jervoise Bay
The City of Perth and the City of Vincent will come under a City of Perth Act, which will include Kings Park, the University of WA and the QEII medical centre. Once these boundaries are formalised, the State Government will take steps to create a City of Riversea based around the western suburbs councils of Claremont, Nedlands, Cottesloe, Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove.

There is little or no change to the cities of Joondalup, Rockingham and Wanneroo.