Merger may include vote weighting

Kate Emery West Australian Newspaper
Under the State Government’s plan the whole of the City of Vincent will be merged with the City of Perth.

Mr Barnett has indicated there could be vote weighting introduced to stop residential voters in Vincent controlling the CBD.

Vincent Mayor John Carey said he was not opposed to a ward structure but he would fight any plans for vote weighting.

“We won’t accept any scenario where City of Vincent ratepayers are disadvantaged or worse off,” he said. “We believe there should be equal representation for all voters.

“We all accept that the CBD should have its own ward but that’s a very different thing to saying it should have extra representation or a gerrymander model.

“The devil is always in the detail and we are seriously concerned that again the Premier had an opportunity to say there wouldn’t be a gerrymander and we wouldn’t rule it out.”

In a statement, Nationals leader Terry Redman said the party did not support forced local government reform and indicated its position on the legislation had not changed.

“The party is not confident that the City of Perth Act would be consistent with this principle,” Mr Redman said.

“Further, I’ve seen nothing that gives me confidence that the regions won’t be next.”

City of Perth legislation ‘a priority’ when Parliament resumes, says Premier Colin Barnett

By Jessica Strutt
Posted 33 minutes agoTue 16 Dec 2014, 5:19pm

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says legislation to expand the City of Perth will be a priority when Parliament resumes in the new year.

While the other parties have indicated they would block the move, the Premier remains confident he will get his way.

The State Government has already announced plans to legislate to create a bigger and more powerful capital city, expanding its boundaries to include Kings Park, the University of Western Australia and the QE11 medical centre.

In October, it released details of its plans to effectively halve the number of metropolitan councils, accepting all but two recommendations made by the Local Government Advisory Board, which had been examining the issue.

Instead of the board’s proposals for the City of Perth, Mr Barnett wants to legislate to create the expanded and more powerful capital city.

The Nationals, Labor and the Greens have all publicly stated they would not back the Act.

Their lack of support is significant because together the three parties have the numbers to block legislation in the Upper House.

Mr Barnett said while the parties had not given any recent indication of support, he was confident the legislation would pass Parliament.

“I expect a majority of members of Parliament, probably a strong majority, to support this legislation. There may be some suggestions of minor changes and we’re amenable to that,” he said.

“This legislation is being drafted as a matter of priority. We intend to introduce it into Parliament in the new year, and we would hope it would pass through Parliament.”

The Premier would not be drawn on what he would do if the legislation failed to pass, saying there was “no Plan B”.

“I don’t think it will be blocked, I think it will get through,” he said.

While Mr Barnett acknowledged he was yet to secure the support to pass the legislation in the Upper House, he is ploughing on.

“This legislation is being drafted as a matter of priority [and] we intend to introduce it into Parliament in the new year, and we would hope it would pass through Parliament,” he said.

Labor, the Greens and the Nationals have all indicated they would block the legislation in the Upper House but the Premier appeared unfazed.

“I don’t think it will be blocked, I think it will get through,” he said.

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.

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