Councils paid ‘for own demise’

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.’

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the Budget transferred the cost of local government reform to ratepayers.

‘In the case of Cockburn and 13 other local governments in the Perth metropolitan area, it is akin to asking us to pay for our own demise given the Minister for Local Government’s (submission to abolish Cockburn),’ he said.

Mr Howlett believed about $100 million would be needed to implement reform metro-wide.

‘The Minister for Local Government received a very clear message from metropolitan local governments that they need to put at least $65 million in the 2014-15 budget for direct financial assistance to local governments,’ he said.

‘A mere $5 million is an insult to metropolitan communities and has been clearly rejected.’

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.’