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

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