Merger no benefit

HAVING spent almost 12 years on Canning council I believe I can say with certainty that the splitting up of Canning and the amalgamation of metropolitan councils will not achieve greater efficiency, nor will it reduce rates or improve services.

What it will do is cause significant disruption to a range of services in the short term and longer-term impacts on a range of local government activities.

While I was on council, I found that councils faced an increasing number of compliance obligations handed down by state and federal governments, which in turn had a direct impact on the ability of council to deliver outcomes in an efficient manner. This will not be solved by amalgamation.

The belief that amalgamation will result in the need for fewer council employees will be proved wrong. While there may be fewer CEOs, those that remain will have greater responsibilities and therefore command greater salaries.

Planning, engineering and community services will need a larger number of middle and upper management staff to meet the larger areas of responsibility.

New premises will be needed to house the council administration in a centralised location in the new expanded councils. The list of changes goes on and on.

Building approval details and histories will need to be relocated to a new premises. Much of this is still paper-based and will require detailed sorting with the potential for lost documentation.

New town plans will need to be drawn up and the new councils may not agree to road repair priorities that were set.

In addition, there is no guarantee that community facilities that were budgeted for but not started will be built following amalgamation.

Almost every aspect of council operations will be affected by this move.

It is good to see the city administrator is now asking the residents to respond. The absence of an elected council has left us without a group to evaluate the proposed amalgamations critically.

Finally, I do not believe the State Government has made any real attempt to prosecute its case on this issue. What is the research and where is the data to show us the advantage of this action?

Most of the debate seems to be about where the boundary lines should be drawn, which is really the least important factor in this whole debate.