Cost concerns could halt reform

Mr Pickard said metropolitan mayors and presidents chose to reject the $60 million reform package offered up in the recent State Budget at a meeting held last week.

‘For five years metropolitan local governments have overwhelmingly participated in good faith and patience with the changing dynamics of the State Government’s reform agenda,’ he said.

‘Now when it is time for the State Government to provide adequate funding for the process that they started, it seems they are walking away from their responsibilities and indeed the time and effort they themselves have invested.’

He said the level of discontent was so high that some councils were considering withdrawing their participation in reform unless further funding was provided.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was a disappointing outcome for Fremantle.

‘It was especially disappointing for Fremantle, who has been supportive of local government reform, to then have the majority of the cost burden shifted to us,’ he said.

‘If it really is a priority for the State then they should properly fund it.’

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said there had been a frank discussion between himself and Perth’s Mayors, but believed the funding available was adequate.

‘There is a bit of angst. I hope we can work through this with WALGA. I am confident we can get local governments better resourced to deliver the services for our ratepayers,’ he said.

‘Change has to happen. We are a growing city. We need to get local governments better resourced to deliver services for their ratepayers. The cost of doing nothing is enormous. We have just delivered a Budget. We have money on the table for reform.’