17/02/2015 - 14:43

Barnett handballs local govt reform to councils

17/02/2015 - 14:43

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Barnett handballs local govt reform to councils

The state government has passed the onus for reform onto local government authorities, with boundary adjustments only set to proceed if they are backed by the councils involved.

Premier Colin Barnett said today that the government would work with councils that wish to continue the reforms on a case-by-case basis.

The move follows residents in Kwinana, East Fremantle and South Perth effectively blocking planned amalgamations with Cockburn, Fremantle and Victoria Park, respectively, after polling revealed the majority of ratepayers were in opposition to the mergers.

Governors orders will be revoked for mergers not supported by councils, Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said.

Property Council of Australia WA executive director Joe Lenzo said shelving the reforms would be a monumental mistake, describing it as a huge lost opportunity.

Mr Lenzo urged both the state and local governments to continue the process to achieve a more efficient system.

“Local government reform in Perth is too important to abandon altogether,” Mr Lenzo said.

“The problems in the local government system have not gone away and it is crucial that the state government now provides incentives for those councils looking to do the right thing and take up the mantle of reform by engaging in voluntary boundary changes and amalgamations.”

Mr Barnett today said any financial contribution to the process by the state government would only be considered in the case of a merger.

The premier said the proposed City of Perth Act remained a government priority and would still be introduced during the current session of parliament.

“We will proceed with the City of Perth Act, whether Vincent is included or not,” Mr Barnett said.

The City of Perth Act has drawn widespread support, including from opposition leader Mark McGowan, who said he would back the legislation with the proviso that the City of Vincent is not included in the proposal.

The Act prescribes for the University of WA, Queen Elizabeth 2 Medical Centre and Kings Park, among other landmarks, to become part of the City of Perth.

 

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