Protesters carry ‘Coffin of Democracy’

ABC News 25 November 2014

Prior to the hearing protesters carried what they called the “coffin of democracy” from the Concert Hall along St Georges Terrace to the front steps of the court.

Save Kalamunda Shire Action Group convenor Alan Malcolm was among the 30 protesters who accompanied the fake coffin in a mock funeral procession.

Alan Malcolm Save Kalamunda Action Group
PHOTO: Alan Malcolm from the Save Kalamunda Shire Action Group, dressed as an undertaker for today’s protest against the process of merging councils. (ABC News: Natasha Harradine)
He said the forced amalgamations were undemocratic.

“We believe the Government has sought throughout this entire process to deny people their democratic right to vote on forced amalgamations, first of all by seeking to remove the Dadour provision from the Local Government Act and then by making these forced mergers,” he said.

Mr Malcolm also criticised Mr Barnett’s move to force the mergers.

“We believe he’s burying the democratic process and this is a symbolic attempt to highlight that they are, in fact, burying democracy,” he said.

“Democracy is not something political, it’s the bedrock, the foundation of the entire political system.

“It’s about asking or demanding our democratic right to vote on something we believe we should be entitled to have a democratic vote on, that is the forced amalgamations or mergers of most of, or nearly all the cities, shires and councils within the Perth metropolitan area.”

The State Government last month rejected the Local Government Advisory Board’s recommendation for merging the five western suburbs councils of Peppermint Grove, Claremont, Nedlands, Mosman Park and Cottesloe into one.

The Premier made it clear the Government still planned to move on the western suburbs merger at some point, but refused to explain how it would achieve that.

There are provisions in the Local Government Act for ratepayers to have a vote over planned mergers through what is called as a Dadour poll.

But because some mergers were being done through a boundary adjustment rather than an amalgamation, not all residents will have a say, which sparked claims that the process is undemocratic.

Mayors predicted rates would have to increase to pay for the Government’s plans after it only allocated $60 million for the merger process.

Of that sum, $45 million was in the form of loans.

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.