As convener of Canning Accountability, a group monitoring local government reform for Canning, I’ve identified a problem as the City readies to merge with Gosnells.
Canning is a major activity precinct, whereas Gosnells is a ‘secondary centre’, in the State Government’s planning document Directions 2031 and Beyond.
Yet there is no guarantee Canning will receive the attention and funding it should in a newly combined council.
How can it? There may never be a final council at Canning. Five of the suspended councillors’ terms have expired, two have resigned, so the remaining four councillors can’t come back, even if the authorised inquiry exonerates them.
The end of the inquiry leaves little time to run special elections and vote in a final council prior to merger, and if the inquiry runs over time, it will further compromise that option.
The pipeline of new councillors at Canning may be cut for years.
This could result in more experienced Gosnells councillors dominating the newly combined council.
Neither the commissioner, nor the Premier or relevant ministers can assure us on this unforeseen strategic blunder.
Why? They simply can’t answer the question: Will democratically elected representation be returned to Canning before it is merged?