Merger mishandled: O’Brien

In Parliament recently, Mr O’Brien said Cockburn had ‘behaved inexplicably and unilaterally’ after it called off discussions to merge at the ‘eleventh hour’ with Kwinana last year.

The senior Liberal member said the decision ‘pulled the rug out from underneath the City of Kwinana’ which then lodged a joint proposal with the City of Melville and City of Fremantle to carve up Cockburn into three parts.

‘The representatives of Cockburn found themselves completely wrong-footed and they continued, thereafter, and have continued to this day, to handle the matter rather poorly in my view,’ he said.

In November, the Government threw its support behind a slightly revised version of the Cities of Kwinana, Melville and Fremantle’s proposal to split up Cockburn, with the remaining parts to come under the control of Kwinana, Melville and Fremantle.

Mr O’Brien criticised Cockburn’s tactics.

‘These people are all friends, but my frank assessment is that they have played it very poorly indeed and they are kidding themselves if they think that the tactics that they have employed ” that is, spending lots of money, encouraging people to email members and so on ” is going to make much difference,’ he said.

A war of words has erupted between Cockburn and Kwinana since the former unexpectedly changed its proposal to the Metropolitan Local Government Review Board after weeks of discussions with Kwinana.

Both mayors have criticised the opposing City’s proposals, with claims of espionage last month after Kwinana officials found signs calling for support for Cockburn in local streets.

Cockburn Council will advise the Local Government Advisory Board that it does not support seven proposals submitted to the LGAB which directly impact its city. These include proposals put together by Melville, Fremantle and Kwinana councils, and those put forward by the Local Government Minister.

At a special council meeting last Thursdsay, Cockburn councillors also agreed to back the Cockburn Community Steering Committee’s proposal over its own after failed attempts to re-enter negotiations with Kwinana over an amalgamation between the two cities.