City urged to join legal battle

Last Thursday, BCG president Cassie Rowe called for Belmont to join the Shire of Kalamunda, City of South Perth, Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale and the City of Subiaco in their Supreme Court case.

‘Belmont should make a strong stand on behalf of local residents and join other councils which are taking legal action,’ she said.

While it should not be up to councils to fund costly legal battles in order to afford their residents a democratic voice, she said it seems many feel they have been left with little choice.

The next hearing is September 5.

As an example of cost, South Perth negotiated a fee of about $70,000 for legal representation by Hammond Legal. The Belmont City Council has not considered the matter but has allocated $50,000 in its budget for legal advice in preparation for the final decision on local government reform, which is expected soon.

‘In order to ensure that the City has sufficient budget allocation to commence the process, if required to do so, the council has prudently allocated funds for key activities that may be required to be undertaken immediately a decision is made,’ chief executive Stuart Cole said.

The $50,000 is intended to cover any legal advice that may be required in the commencement of any restructure process.

Mayor Phil Marks said the City was very interested in the outcome of the legal action as its intent supported its resolved position that a merger with another local government was not in the best interests of the community.