Tony mum on merger

Ratepayers rally on Parliament House where they protested proposed mergers and shouted down Minister Tony Simpson.
Ratepayers rally on Parliament House where they protested proposed mergers and shouted down Minister Tony Simpson.

‘If he thinks we’re fools, he is going to get his come- uppance,’ a protestor said, alluding to Mr Simpson risking his Serpentine-Jarrahdale seat if changes went ahead.

The rally was organised by the Subiaco-based Dadour Group established to keep the Local Government Act poll provision allowing residents’ votes on amalgamations.

Only western suburbs residents may vote because other new councils across Perth have been proposed using boundary realignments that do not trigger polls.

Rally organiser Malcolm Mummery said the Government had not proved the need for change that had been ‘pushed’ by development and property lobbies, and falling levels of political party membership had allowed the Government’s policy to be affected.

Concerns of Cottesloe, Cockburn, Canning, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Stirling and Subiaco and Kalamunda protestors included mooted asset sales and post-merger rates rises to pay the estimated $200 million cost of halving Perth’s 30 councils, many of which were in surplus when the Government lost its AAA credit rating last year.

‘The Government spent $400 million on the Office of Shared Resources and now they are pulling it apart,’ Save Our Kalamunda Action Group spokesman Peter Kenyon said.

Asked if the merger process would now be changed, and of the risk to his seat, Mr Simpson said reform continued and he waited for mid-year recommendations from the Local Government Board considering 36 proposals, with 12 from the Government. He said councils had asked for change, a view contested by mayors opposed to the process, and there were five rounds of public consultation in the past five years.