16/06/2014 - 15:38

Property Council calls out rebel councils

16/06/2014 - 15:38

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Property Council calls out rebel councils
Property Council of Australia WA executive director Joe Lenzo.

Legal action launched by three metropolitan area councils against Local Government Minister Tony Simpson is a ‘disappointing, last-ditch attempt’ to derail the merger process, the Property Council of Australia says.

The City of Subiaco, as well as the shires of Kalamunda and Serpentine-Jarrahdale are all taking legal action against Mr Simpson, who is overseeing the Barnett government’s plan to halve the number of Perth councils from 30 to 15.

The Local Government Advisory Board is also subject to the legal action.

The councils are seeking to maintain themselves as independent local government bodies, and have raised concerns that ratepayers would have to pay extra as a result of the reforms.

The councils also allege that Mr Simpson has not complied with the Local Government Act in setting up the amalgamation process.

Other councils that are considering taking action include the cities of Cockburn, Claremont and South Perth.

Property Council of Australia WA executive director Joe Lenzo said the moves threatened to prevent the much-needed reform of local government planning and building services.

“Outdated and inconsistent planning processes across the councils make it significantly harder for the necessary development to take place that provides the ease of transport and access to amenities that people want,” Mr Lenzo said.

“The boundaries have no connection to the greater strategic plans for the growth in Perth.

“A basic reduction in the number of local governments would provide the scale necessary for effective government systems.”

Mr Lenzo said it was hypocritical of the councils to criticise the use of rates to enable local government reform, but then use that same money to fund legal action.

“These local governments need to look at what is in the best interests of the wider metropolitan region and not just their own backyards,” he said.

“Through the reform process, Perth can be a city that is capable of more strategic, dynamic planning, which will enable it to provide a better built environment for its residents.” 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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