Call for law uniformity

Mr Simpson was address-ing leaders at last week’s WA Local Government Association’s annual general meeting, saying councils needed to simplify their rules and urging them to work together to address this as part of local government reform.

He said there was too much variety across the boards for laws covering the same issue.

‘For more than 100 years there have been different rules from one local government to another in just about everything,’ he said.

‘A woman in one area can own two cats and her sister in the next suburb can have umpteen, and I can drink a coffee on the footpath cafe in one area, but not in another.’

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said he supported a simplifying and streamlining of rules concerning ‘mundane’ council matters like driveway crossovers and online planning applications, but a push for uniformity should not come at the cost of innovation.

‘Important rules that are now state-wide, including alfresco dining, small ancillary dwellings and targeted smoking bans all started as local council initiatives where these rules could be tested and tried, and that should be allowed to continue,’ he said.