Canning residents critical of proposed council mergers

Canning campaigners get their message across at Parliament House last Tuesday.
Canning campaigners get their message across at Parliament House last Tuesday.

ANGRY Canning residents and ratepayers congregated on the steps of Parliament House last Tuesday to demand a democratic say in local government reform.

About 50 delegates representing Canning, Kalamunda, Mundaring, Serpentine Jarrahdale, South Perth, Subiaco and Vincent councils presented official requests for a poll to be held on reform.

Last month, the Government said it would cut councils from 30 to 16, some via boundary adjustments that do not require a poll to held. Public polls will be held over three amalgamations.

However, merger critics allege that some boundary adjustments were chosen specifically to prevent the public using the Local Government Act’s Dadour Amendment that says a petition of at least 250 signatures can trigger a poll, at which half of electors must vote for a valid decision.

One of those critics is Canning Community Alliance (CCA) co-ordinator Bill Prince, who was heavily involved the D-Day demonstrations, demanding democracy not dictatorship.

Mr Prince said several residents were unaware of what the ‘absolutely hostile takeover’ of four other councils would mean for City of Canning residents.

‘Unless residents are fully aware of the consequences of the abolition of Canning, it will simply fade into the sunset,’ he said.

‘The first some residents will know about the change is when they receive a rates notice, up by some 15 per cent, with a different council’s name on it.’

The City of Canning is set to be divided into the new cities of Gosnells, Melville, Belmont and South Park as of July 1, 2015.

Mr Prince said the City of Canning needed to run a strong campaign pressing for a poll.

‘We will explore every avenue to achieve justice and our democratic rights,’ Mr Prince said.

‘The lies, deceit, trickery and underhand tactics of the Barnett Government must not prevail.’

Canning Commissioner Steven Cole said the State Government was an elected body and as the body making decisions on local government reform, the decision was democratic.

‘The Fight for Canning Campaign was established to allow residents to express their views on reform during the proposal period,’ he said. ‘Now that the proposals are finalised, the City believes that it is in the best interests of the community to work towards a seamless transition to the new local government entities.’

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said it was made clear in October that only areas being amalgamated had a poll.