Barnett hints at favouring merger

Speaking on breakfast radio last Tuesday, Mr Barnett said most of the bigger councils would stay ‘pretty well as they are’.

He also mentioned the State Government’s recent $2.4 million donation to the recreation centre planned for Cockburn Central West, a project pushed by Cockburn Council.

‘Most of the bigger councils are staying pretty well as they are, but there are huge benefits with reform,’ he said.

‘So for example, Cockburn and Kwinana; part of them coming together will probably be the building of the best sport and community sporting complex in Western Australia. The State’s willing to put big money into those projects, but we expect to see those councils come together so they can fund and maintain it.’

When queried by the Gazette as to what he meant, Mr Barnett said: ‘There are synergies in Kwinana and Cockburn coming together to strengthen sporting facilities in the region to the benefit of all of WA’.

Cockburn councillor Stephen Pratt believed if Mr Barnett was using the project as an example of the benefits of reform, he was likely to be leaning towards a Cockburn-Kwinana merger.

‘I don’t see how the project can be achieved if we’re abolished. We’re the council pushing it,’ he said.

‘From those comments obviously the Premier is as excited about the project as we are.

‘I see his comments as a positive in what we’re wanting to achieve and what the Cockburn-Kwinana Steering Committee are trying to achieve.’

The Local Government Advisory Board will make its decision in the middle of the year.