Kwinana’s counter-attack

The proposed City of Cockburn Sound boundaries.
The proposed City of Cockburn Sound boundaries.

In a surprise submission to the Local Government Advisory Board on October 18, Kwinana proposed to absorb Cockburn’s south up to Beeliar Drive/ Armadale Road, with Fremantle and Melville to push their borders further down to claim the remaining 60,000 ratepayers.

But at a special meeting on Thursday night, 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 most ratepayers wanted to go ahead with an amalgamation.

But with its hand forced by Kwinana’s bold bid, the City considered it had no other choice if it was to protect ratepayers.

Within the proposal for the new 130,000-resident City of Cockburn Sound the City did, however, include another request that the Minister for Local Government make provisions for a poll for the residents of Cockburn and Kwinana. It also asked that the estimated $6.5 million cost of the boundary changes be funded by the State Government.

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said he was confident his City had the best possible plan.

‘If local government reform is to occur, it needs to be done with a big picture view. Cockburn has taken this view and believes that its proposal is the best strategic fit consistent with the Government’s blueprint,’ he said.

East ward Cr Stephen Portelli did not hold back in his assessment of Kwinana’s surprise bid the previous week.

‘In my opinion, Kwinana’s Mayor and elected members have been dishonourable,’ he said.

‘Whilst Cockburn has distracted itself with polling provisions, Kwinana has gone on the offensive and decided to carve up Cockburn with Fremantle and Melville. To say I’m angry with this dishonourable conduct by Kwinana’s elected members is an understatement.’

Kwinana Industries Council (KIC) director Chris Oughton has criticised the Metropolitan Local Government Reform Panel for ignoring its submissions calling for the $16 billion a year Western Trade Coast (WTC) to come under the control of one local government.