WELL, like it or not, in about two years councils will be amalgamated and just what the implications will be for us is unknown but we can start to build a picture.
Serpentine Jarrahdale is a rural shire moving to a rapidly growing urban council and is one of Australia’s fastest growing localities. Its population is 21,502 and forecast to reach 50,000 by 2031.
The pressure is on from the State Government as part of its corridor plan.
I believe Serpentine Jarrahdale is at the same stage we in the City of Armadale were in or before 2000. That was a time when our rate base was low, coming mainly from residential rates as we had a quite low industry base and just the one main shopping complex.
On reflection, Serpentine Jarrahdale is probably even further behind than we were then as it has no main shopping complex and its main industries as identified on its web site are based in tourism.
In the early 2000s, the Southern Wungong Structure plan was released and suddenly we were on our way.
Today, only the Armadale Aquatic Centre final upgrading appears to be the outstanding matter that, although identified back then, is not fully met.
Serpentine Jarrahdale is without doubt going to be amalgamated into our area (and I do acknowledge the real concerns by those residents). However, are we in the City going to take on additional rate burdens or accept fewer new facilities and less upgrading of assets and services when we take on the financial burden required to meet the demands of one of the fastest growing locations in Australia?
As the State Government is going to impose this amalgamation on the City of Armadale then it should formally agree to commit significant funding to the new entity for at least 10 years to ensure we will not be financially disadvantaged.
Anything less is not acceptable.
Pat Hart, Roleystone