03/03/2009 - 15:27

State pushes ahead with council mergers

03/03/2009 - 15:27

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The state government has issued a timetable to local councils as part of its merger plans for Western Australia's 139 councils.

State pushes ahead with council mergers

The state government has issued a timetable to local councils as part of its merger plans for Western Australia's 139 councils.

Local Government Minister John Castrilli today released the Structural Reform Guidelines to assist local government respond to "his call for voluntary council amalgamations" and the reduction in the number of elected council members.

Early last month, Mr Castrilli gave local councils up to six months to advise the government of their amalgamation plans in a bid to streamline the sector.

At the time, Mr Castrilli's comments were heavily criticised by the Western Australia Local Government Association president Bill Mitchell, who said the state government has broken its election promise.

Included in the guideline book is a four stage timetable, with August given as the deadline for submissions from councils for possible amalgamations.

Mr Castrilli said local residents will be the winners from any consolidation of council numbers, with fewer councils to have greater purchasing power, more streamlined administrative and planning operations and increased capacity to strategically plan for the long-term.

"A reduction in the number of councils coupled with a rationalisation in the number of elected councillors, has the potential to save ratepayers millions of dollars per year; savings that can be better used to fund roads, sports grounds, libraries and other local infrastructure projects," Mr Castrilli said.

"If any other multimillion dollar business was not earning enough to support itself and had a falling customer base, its sustainability would be questioned; this is the situation currently facing many local councils."

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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