Costly claims ‘don’t add up’

The claim follows a Cockburn-funded economic analysis, which suggested the Local Government Minister’s proposal for the south metropolitan region, supported by Fremantle, Melville and Kwinana councils, could cost $97.8 million.

The report states that under the State Government’s plan, close to $90 million would be needed for ‘accommodation’; $60 million to build new council offices and $30 million for a new Cockburn depot.

Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said the claims were ‘misleading and completely fictitious’.

‘It’s a nice attempt to further confuse the issue, but when you read into their argument, it’s entirely based on this fictional need for new offices when no such need exists,’ she said.

Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey also hit out at claims that residents would miss out on projects funded through developer contributions.

‘We have direct advice from the Department of Planning that regardless of the final outcome of council reform, projects earmarked through developer contribution schemes could continue undisturbed,’ he said.

However, the AEC Group study concludes the State Government proposal represents a ‘high-risk approach, which introduces significant additional complexity, challenges and uncertainty’, while the Cockburn Community Proposal is ‘simpler, less complex and less disruptive’.

The AEC Group is a Queensland-based international company specialising in economic modelling and local government financial sustainability.

The Minister for Local Government is expected to announce final plans for reform later this year.