14/05/2014 - 13:45

Warning on local government reform

14/05/2014 - 13:45

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Warning on local government reform

Reform of metropolitan councils is set to be derailed unless there is a quick response by the state government to concerns over funding implementation costs, according to the WA Local Government Association.

A state budget funding package of $5 million per year for three years and access to $45 million in low interest loans was proposed to WALGA, which metropolitan mayors and presidents swiftly rejected.

Members and presidents of WALGA voted to take to their councils the option of withdrawing participation in the process if the state government doesn’t revise their funding position.

WALGA President Troy Pickard said the funding proposed by the state government was without basis and seen as a betrayal of the investment in time and resources by councils in the state’s reform process.

“For five years metropolitan local governments have overwhelmingly participated in good faith and patience with the changing dynamics of the state government’s reform agenda,” he said.

“Now when it’s time for the state government to provide adequate funding for the process that they started, it seems that they are walking away from their responsibilities and indeed the time and effort they themselves have invested.”

WALGA has rebutted that at least $65 million to $100 million will be required to implement metropolitan reform.

Mr Pickard believes that the proposed $5 million per year is barely enough to fund one merger yet alone the dozen or so mergers that the Local Government Minister has proposed.

“The state government is saying it’s providing $60 million for reform which is at best misleading when most of it is in loans,” he said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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