December 16, 2014 – 4:47PM
The City of Perth is set to more than double in size in a bid to achieve “capital city status” under proposed legislation.
Premier Colin Barnett announced on Tuesday his government had begun drafting the controversial City of Perth Act that will redraw local boundaries to include the neighbouring City of Vincent and University of WA.
The proposed act is part of a wider plan to amalgamate local councils to reduce their number from 33 to less than 20.
The WA Government plans to introduce the City of Perth Act to parliament next year, despite the Nationals pledging to oppose the amalgamation plan, and doubts over whether the Liberals have the numbers to pass it.
City of Vincent Lord Mayor John Carey has also opposed the move, saying it will strip local residents of any power to vote on the proposed Perth merger.
Mr Barnett said he was hopeful of getting the Act passed with the support of the opposition, adding the City of Vincent supported the proposal.
“The National Party has said they’re going to basically exempt themselves from any discussions about metropolitan councils – that’s probably the reality – but I would expect the Labor Party to support this,” he said.
However, Mr Barnett admitted he hadn’t spoken to Opposition Leader Mark McGowan about the proposal, and that there was no “Plan B” should it fail.
“The City of Perth supports it, the Town of Vincent supports it, the University of WA supports it, the state government – all the major institutions in the state – support it, the business community and tourism industry support it,” he told reporters.
“It will bring several features that are Perth’s great selling points under one council which makes good sense from a planning and tourism point of view.
“I think the vast majority of people in Western Australia believe we should have a proper pact to define the capital city of this state.
“It will give the city the status it should hold as Australia’s west coast capital and an increasingly important city in the Asia region.”
Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said it would be his “number one priority” to get the legislation passed next year.
The expanded boundaries will include the current City of Perth, City of Vincent, UWA Kings Park QEII Medical Centre and the new Perth Children’s Hospital.