LOCAL Government Minister Tony Simpson warned shire councils they should think carefully about using ratepayers' money to fund legal action against the amalgamation process.
Vincent resident Ian Ker, the City of Subiaco, City of South Perth and the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale lodged legal challenge to the mergers on Wednesday against Mr Simpson and the Local Government Advisory Board.
High-profile Perth lawyer John Hammond will represent Mr Ker and the councils.
The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale would not reveal how much money it had set aside for the case but the City of South Perth had allocated $150,000 and it is likely the other metropolitan councils would contribute a similar figure.
Mr Simpson was highly critical of the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale’s participation in the legal action.
‘Councils are elected to service their community,’ Mr Simpson said.
‘The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale, they’re the fastest-growing shire in Australia, and it is giving ratepayers’ money to an individual in Vincent, when it should be delivering services to its residents.’
Mr Simpson said he would investigate how much ratepayer funds were used in the legal proceedings.
He has sought legal advice from the State Solicitor’s Office but believed the merger process would be finalised by the planned date ” July next year.
He was confident procedure had been followed under the Local Government Act in regard to the council amalgamations.
‘I’m a confused about why they’re taking legal action against the process,’ he said.
‘We’re still waiting on advisory board to hand down its recommendation,’ he said.
The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale refused to comment.