THE push to have two Cockburn suburbs brought under the umbrella of the City of Fremantle took another step last week, with advocates for the change submitting a proposal and more than 300 signatures to the Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB).
In January, Greater Fremantle campaigners signalled their intent to fight for North Coogee and Hamilton Hill to become part of the port city, arguing the 18,500 people living in these suburbs identify more with Fremantle than Cockburn and are more likely to visit the neighbouring area.
Three months on, Greater Fremantle convenor and Hamilton Hill resident Adin Lang said the group was relieved to have submitted enough signatures and a proposal for the LGAB to consider.
“Not everyone was for (the proposal), but the majority were,” he said.
“There’s always been a debate around this and now … it’s time to actually discuss it.
“I hope Cockburn Council sees the logic in the plan put forward.
“The current boundaries don’t make sense.”
Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the City remained opposed to the proposal, which comes a year after the City protected its boundaries from the threat of state-backed local government reform.
He said many members of the community had expressed outrage over the proposal.
“The small number of signatures required to trigger a LGAB review, if this has been achieved, is not indicative of the feelings of the majority of our residents,” he said.
“People don’t consider local government boundaries if they go shopping or are seeking entertainment options.
“In fact, more and more people from Fremantle seem to be using our facilities, recreation opportunities and entertainment in Cockburn than the other way around.”
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt reiterated what he said in January, that although the city was not actively seeking any boundary changes, the council’s position throughout the failed local government reform process was that Hamilton Hill and part of North Coogee should become part of a new larger City of Fremantle.
“That said, we acknowledge that any changes to boundaries has to be by agreement of both councils which makes these discussions academic,” he said.
Coogee Beach Progress Association president Geoffrey Sach argued there was no basis for the push.
“We’re totally opposed to the proposal,” he said.
“There’s no evidence to support it going ahead.
“We’re surprised the campaign has continued, considering it’s taken this long to gather the signatures.”
The Hamilton Hill Community Group were sought for comment.
Mr Lang will wait to hear back from the LGAB.
Basic breakdown of how district boundary changes can occur.
The Local Government Advisory Board can accept proposals from a Minister for Local Government, local governments and electors.
For a proposal to be valid it needs to set out its effect on local governments and contain at least 250 signatures or 10 per cent of the total number of affected electors.
The Board can decide to undertake a formal or informal assessment of the proposal or reject it if it is deemed to be similar to a proposal that the Board has assessed within the last two years.
The Board may also reject a proposal if it considers that it is frivolous or otherwise not in the interests of good government.
If the LGAB decides to assess the proposal, it will advise the relevant local governments and undertake consultation.
The LGAB will report its recommendation to the Minister for Local Government.
The Minister then makes a decision, with electors able to request a poll to overturn it.