And as with any sporting event there’s been the usual build-up: a mix of speculation, controversy and talk of potential winners and losers.
It’s probably safe to say Cockburn is operating in mid-table with the potential to gain a lot. A merger with Kwinana is the favoured outcome, or there is the potential to be sent to the doldrums if split between neighbouring local governments.
Either way, Cockburn chief executive Stephen Cain says City staff and community members are working hard to prepare plans for ‘IT, human resources, finance and a myriad of other matters’.
‘There is a considerable amount of work entailed in merging two local governments,’ he said. ‘All work to date has been in draft, pending the final assessment report from the Local Government Advisory Board.
‘While there is uncertainty about the timing and details of any announcements on the reform process, there is an old adage: You won’t get anywhere without a plan.
‘The City’s plans provide a solid foundation that will place it in a good position to move forward, regardless of this uncertainty.’
The first 12 months of reform will bring with it the most change. Should Cockburn and Kwinana merge, staff will look to provide a smooth transition, but it won’t be possible to completely consolidate within one year.
The new entity will need to provide services for a population of more than 130,000 people.
Tasks will include expanding human services programs, providing communication channels that allows the community to access information they want and need, and expanding household service capabilities for waste and rangers to match expanding household numbers.
Mr Cain said there was plenty of work being done and a lot yet to do. But ushering in the first year of a new local government would be an exciting and challenging process.
He said that while long- term decisions could not be made until a new council is in place in October 2015, he was confident the new entity would flourish.
‘Suffice to say, both Cockburn and Kwinana will continue to grow regardless of what is occurring with reform.
‘Making sure plans are updated to manage this growth will keep us all busy.’