The City of Vincent concerned over weighted-voting with City of Perth merger

Vincent Mayor John Carey will step down in January.
Vincent Mayor John Carey will step down in January.

CITY of Vincent Mayor John Carey says the council has a fight on its hands to prevent weighted voting if it joins the City of Perth.

Mr Carey said the council reform process, which would have 30 councils reduced to 16, had been a frustrating process.

‘The process has become even more uncertain now because we have the Nationals saying they are not going to support the City of Perth Act, we have Labor saying they are not going to support the City of Perth Act,’ Mr Carey said.

The City of Perth Act would revise the City of Perth’s boundaries, with Perth taking in the City of Vincent, University of WA and QEII Medical Centre.

Mr Carey said he could accept a merger with Perth under a two-ward scenario ” one for Perth CBD and one for the Vincent area.

‘But we don’t believe in a scenario where there are eight representatives for CBD and only four or five for Vincent because that’s a gerrymander and vote weighting,’ he said.

‘Up to date Vincent has been a moderate, constructive player in local government reform, so it really feels like we’ve been put through the ringer.

‘We’ve still got a hard slog ahead of us because we’re going to have to strongly advocate for Vincent residents to ensure there is no vote weighting and no gerrymander.’

City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said she expected weighted voting to be part of the council reform. ‘I think that was the intended version and going by recent comments from Premier Colin Barnett, that is probably what will play out in the legislative process,’ Ms Scaffidi said.

‘I’m aware my fellow colleague, the mayor of the City of Vincent, has expressed his disappointment at the outcome.’

Mr Carey said Local Government Minister Tony Simpson and Premier Barnett had contradicted each other, adding to the confusion around the proposed merger.

Mr Simpson said he guaranteed Vincent residents would have an equal vote.

‘Anyone can vote. You can’t have a vote weight; everyone who owns a property is entitled to have a vote and that vote is standard across all local governments,’ he said.

Mr Carey said the council and Vincent ratepayers were not easily pushed aside.

‘We are not going to accept a scenario where our residents are second-class citizens or worse off,’ he said.

‘He will be writing on behalf of the council for written guarantee from the minister and Premier that says there will be no vote weighting or gerrymander.’