Residents join merger protest

Serpentine-Jarrahdale residents are upset with their MLA over council mergers. Picture: Jon Bassett
Serpentine-Jarrahdale residents are upset with their MLA over council mergers. Picture: Jon Bassett

The rally was organised by the Subiaco-based Dadour Group, established to keep the Local Government Act poll provision allowing residents’ votes on amalgamations.

Only westerns suburbs’ residents may vote because other new councils across Perth have been proposed using boundary realignments that do not trigger polls.

Serpentine-Jarrahdale formed an alliance with residents from eight other councils to put up a united front at the rally.

Save SJ Shire Group spokeswoman Margaret Cala said residents fronted up at Parliament House because the State Government had not given communities the chance to have a say and the whole process had been undemocratic. ‘The proposed merger reform was based on a document which was a page-and-half-long with no details about costs or if communities would be better off,’ she said.

Mrs Cala said the one thing Local Government Minister Tony Simpson should keep in mind is that councils are elected by the community to act in their best interests.

‘He’s said we’re misguided and uninformed and our councillors have not been communicating with us properly, but I refute those claims.’

Asked after the rally, if the merger process would now be changed, Mr Simpson said reform continued and he waited for mid-year recommendations from the Local Government Board which is currently considering 36 proposals, including 12 from the Government.