Councils clash over merger plans

Cockburn Councillor Steve Portelli
Cockburn Councillor Steve Portelli

In a letter addressed to Gazette sister paper the Weekend Courier, Cr Steve Portelli said he was angry about ‘dishonourable conduct’ from Kwinana’s elected councillors.

He said Kwinana had failed to consider its neighbouring council before submitting a proposal to the Local Government Advisory Board, which would effectively wipe Cockburn off the map.

The last-minute Kwinana proposal seeks to expand its borders north to Beeliar Drive/Armadale Road with Fremantle and Melville extending their borders south.

Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams described Cr Portelli’s attack as a ‘hissy fit.’

‘Cr Portelli’s comments are ironic, given it was Cockburn’s surprise back flip which placed Kwinana in a unique political position,’ Cr Adams said.

‘We had the chance to go back to the drawing board, to revisit our preferred model and strengthen it by considering communities of interest, not only Kwinana, but also Cockburn, Fremantle, East Fremantle and Melville.

‘It would seem Cr Portelli is having a hissy fit because Kwinana got on the front foot and proposed a plan with wider reaching benefits for south metropolitan Perth, placing Kwinana firmly in the leadership role.’

Cr Portelli said the merger between Cockburn and Kwinana would be a good fit because of their common aspirations and industrial areas.

But at a special meeting on October 24, Cockburn Council hit back by lodging its own proposal to the Local Government Advisory Board with the intention of abolishing Kwinana and expanding Cockburn’s boundaries south to incorporate the district as a new south ward.

The City’s submission went against a decision last month not to put forward a proposal unless a poll showed the majority of ratepayer wanted to go ahead with an amalgamation.