Day says not much will change

John Day speaks to reporters.
John Day speaks to reporters.

In an exclusive interview with the Hills Gazette, Mr Day said he was concerned residents, Shire councillors and staff were worried Kalamunda would be vulnerable after a merger with the City of Belmont.

He said there was a public perception that Kalamunda would be ‘subsumed under the City of Belmont’.

‘I don’t think that will be the end result under amalgamation, I am confident that there is no intention for that and Belmont will not become the dominant partner (of the merged entity),’ he said.

Mr Day said he had met with Local Government Minister Tony Simpson and discussed his concerns.

He learned from Mr Simpson that the Local Government Act makes the process of amalgamation more convoluted than it needs to be and that across the metropolitan area, there was pressure on all councils to amalgamate with a partner that may not be willing.

‘I accept now that the process will be fair, and that it is important and relatively modest… these are not significant changes,’ he said.

‘But the government does have to move to sustain Western Australian management of councils for the long term with projected population growth.’

He said the State Government had not introduced major change, such as those that occurred in the Brisbane area, which now had one local council for the whole city.

‘Ours is modest compared to Queensland,’ he said.

‘Councils can work it out whether it means alternate meetings at each administration centre or how they want to manage the change at that level,’ he said.

Mr Day said a resident backed proposal to link the Kalamunda and Mundaring shires would not be financially sustainable because their population density was too little.

‘Belmont makes sense, fiscally,’ he said.

Kalamunda resident Peter Kenyon called on Mr Day to stand up for his local community.

‘We need him to stand up and say we will not let this boundary movement go ahead,’ Mr Kenyon said.

‘He is the fourth most powerful person in the Barnett Government.’

Mr Simpson said the big picture was that the Government wanted to create stronger councils, reducing the number of local governments from 30 to 15.

‘All facilities that are administered by the Shire and owned by ratepayers will continue to be and operated accordingly,’ he said. ‘This includes, libraries, sporting and other facilities.’