Melville’s cup runneth over

Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

‘Melville will work alongside Fremantle to make it a strong second city while respecting its history and culture,’ Mr Aubrey said.

Melville chief executive Shayne Silcox said deliberations leading up to the State Government announcement on local government reform were ‘unnecessarily long’, and caused concern for residents and local government employees.

‘To see the final boundary map is something I accept and something we can finally move forward on,’ he said.

The Town of East Fremantle would become part of the new council under proposed reforms, along with parts of the City of Canning, including Rossmoyne, Shelley and Willetton. The residential part of North Fremantle would be removed.

Dr Silcox said the amalgamation process would be complex and take ‘several years’.

‘The work of local government will need to carry on without any disruption, cost or loss of services to residents and business owners,’ he said.

Dr Silcox said Local Government Minister Tony Simpson had instructed senior representatives from each of the councils to form implementation committees, which will present proposals for consolidated councils to the Local Government Advisory Board by October 4. The minister has told councils merger proposals should fit with the government’s preferred model.

Cr Aubrey said the process meant the merger was ultimately forced because, if the proposal put forward by councils was significantly different from government recommendations, the minister could intervene or appoint a commissioner to manage the amalgamation. Despite this, Cr Aubrey said he was keen to start the process of bringing the councils together.

‘As the new boundaries are now drawn, I am keen to take a leadership role, and embrace the opportunities and challenges the creation of a new city will present,’ he said. ‘This is not going to be a case of one council taking over another, but of different groups coming together to produce a single strategic plan.’

Dr Silcox said the City’s primary concern was to minimise disruption to residents while changes associated with bringing the cities together were put in place.

The new city would begin on July 1, 2015, and a commissioner appointed to oversee its operation until elections were held in October that year.