Fight to allow residents’ vote

‘And now it has to go to WALGA’s State Council and the zones’ delegates to work on, which is terrific,’ Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson said, who is fighting to keep laws allowing residents to vote.

At the AGM, City of Canning commissioner Linton Reynolds proposed a motion for WALGA to support voting where one or more districts are lined up for merger.

The motion follows Government plans for two-council mergers avoiding polling in the 12 councils outside the proposed seven-council western suburbs’ amalgamation ” the only one likely to have voting rights.

Mr Reynolds’ move also backed WALGA’s opposition to Government ‘manipulation’ of the laws that defined the 12 mergers as boundary adjustments, and also told Mr Pickard he must get majority support for what was the ‘significant boundary adjustment’ now being offered by WALGA as a trigger for a poll.

Backing the motion, City of Vincent Mayor John Carey said WALGA needed to offer ‘a carrot’ to the Government, such as whether ‘significant’ meant 50 per cent of a council. WALGA currently considers ‘significant’ to be 50 per cent of population, properties or rates.

Mr Carey said it needed to be decided if the impact of a merger on population, rates, a developing area or industrial strip, could be cited for a poll, requiring a petition from 250 residents or 10 per cent of a council’s population.

Delegates voted 197-32 in favour of Mr Reynolds’ motion, which may take WALGA two months to consider after Local Government Minister Tony Simpson told the AGM he expected to announce new borders ‘several weeks’ after recommendations late this month.

Mr Simpson said Canning’s motion would have no impact on council reform.