Day knocks poll result

Darren Jones, Raj Eshmald, Sue Bilich and Ian Toleman promoting Kalamunda Bike Week.
Darren Jones, Raj Eshmald, Sue Bilich and Ian Toleman promoting Kalamunda Bike Week.

The Shire spent $80,000 to mail ballots to 37,305 residents to gauge the community’s opinions on proposed council amalgamations.

More than 15,800 ballots were returned, with more than 13,500 voting ‘no’.

Kalamunda Shire said last week in a statement the poll was a success with an ‘overwhelming no’ vote, but Mr Day, who opposed the poll from the beginning, said it would be unlikely to make any impact on government decision making.

‘I’m not surprised at the result, given the one-sided nature of the material which was distributed during the process,’ Mr Day said.

‘The number of people voting was 41 per cent of those eligible, which is less than the 50 per cent required for the vote to have any effect if it was part of an actual amalgamation process under the Local Government Act ” which it is not.’

Mr Day still deems the process a waste of time and money.

‘I am still of the view the exercise was not the best use of more than $80,000 of ratepayers’ money, considering the other purposes for which this amount could be used in the local community,’ he said.

‘The most important issue in the discussion about the structure of local governments is to ensure that the necessary services are provided in communities in a manner which provides value for ratepayers’ money.

‘The future of district centres, such as Kalamunda, is assured, regardless of what local government structure we have.’

Shire president Sue Bilich argued the results sent a strong message to the State Government that electors did not want amalgamation.

She said the 40.9 per cent response rate was the highest of any local government election process in the Shire in the past decade.

‘The last local government election of the North Ward, conducted in March 2013, had a voter response of 24.8 per cent,’ she said.

‘March 2011 saw a similar scenario for an extraordinary election, with 23.2 per cent of votes returned from electors in the North West ward.’

‘Compare those results to the community poll, in which we had 40.9 per cent of all electors in the Shire, and I think it is clear to say that this is a very good result for a non-compulsory community poll,’ she said.

The Gazette understands Shire representatives and Mr Day were scheduled to meet yesterday, but details on the topic of discussion were unclear and we were unable to obtain comments from the Shire or Mr Day before this newspaper edition went to press.

– Academic hits at referendum: PAGE 14