Under the move, Cockburn and Kwinana would merge to form a City of about 132,000 people.
Cockburn looks set to keep Coolbellup, North Lake and Hamilton Hill, although discussions over boundaries are continuing, with Fremantle keen on taking Hamilton Hill and the north of Coogee.
The State Government said the new council would make co-ordinating industrial areas previously spread across multiple boundaries easier to manage.
It also said the merger would consolidate significant regional open space, wetlands and coastal foreshores.
Mr Howlett said talks with Kwinana had proved to him that the partnership would be beneficial to both communities.
‘Combined with our industrial corridor and business parks, education providers and skill centres, we aim to ensure job growth and skills development remain foremost in our deliberations with industry and the organisations that represent their interests,’ he said.
But deputy mayor Kevin Allen was concerned the cost of the merger could affect Cockburn ratepayers.
‘I’m not against the merger but there will be a lot of costs involved with it and I think that analysis should have been worked out first,’ he said.
‘It’s a bit like they’ve put the cart before the horse and that’s just my opinion.
‘I hope it won’t come as a cost to ratepayers because they never asked to merge.
‘Cockburn and Kwinana could have stood alone because we’re both growth councils.’
Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said that while her community and council had wanted to remain independent, it was a positive that her City would not be split down the middle and shared between Cockburn and Rockingham.
‘Kwinana and Cockburn are both financially strong local governments.
‘We both have growth and value to bring to the table and because we believed that the Government favoured this merger, there have been some preliminary discussions already in recent months between the two councils,’ she said.
‘We have clear communities of interest, particularly in regards to our industrial ratepayers, plus both local governments have rapidly expanding residential populations, which now spread seamlessly along the eastern corridor of the Kwinana Freeway.’