Councils’ fate to be decided

‘We’ve been summonsed and will be told the way the world will work, and then we’ll all have to work out the way forward from there,’ Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said.

The meeting may end uncertainty that has affected retaining staff and long-term planning at local governments, highlighted by the resignation of Town of Kwinana chief executive Neil Hartley last week.

Reducing Perth’s 30 councils and changing their roles has failed several times in the past five years, during which the Government-initiated Robson Report in 2012 suggested the creation of just 12 councils.

Mr Barnett backed 15 to 20 councils, but also threw his support behind a Claremont-based G4 council including Mosman Park, Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove of about 27,000 residents, in his electorate that would go against the report’s suggestion of creating new councils of about 100,000 ratepayers or more.

Last month, Mr Barnett said the western suburbs’ seven councils, most of which anticipate will be merged, would be the focus of reform.

Mayors have said mergers have been stymied by a lack of direction and reasons for change, and have questioned whether there will be enough money for the cost of amalgamations in the State Budget on August 8.

Mr Simpson has indicated all the changes across Perth could take up to two years, after new councillors who would be responsible for carrying out the mergers are elected in October.

A spokeswoman for Mr Simpson said the briefing would outline the Government’s decision on the Robson Report’s recommendations that included it having a larger role in waste disposal, greater links between both tiers of government for strategic planning, a mayors’ forum headed by the City of Perth, compulsory voting in council elections and party political nominations for council.

Mr Simpson’s spokeswomen said next week’s briefing built on the report’s findings and recommendations, and would take into account interstate and overseas experiences, which have included changes in Brisbane, Auckland and Vancouver local governments, and community input.