Dadour democratic rights risk

Moved by Victoria Park MLA Ben Wyatt, the poll provision motion if retained would have given residents the right to vote on whether they wanted their local government boundaries changed by the State Government.

Mr Wyatt said the poll provision was to protect communities from State Governments over-centralising their power.

‘I have noted the strong rhetoric coming from MPs such as Mr John McGrath (South Perth MLA) and Mrs Glenys Godfrey (Belmont MLA) regarding the importance of protecting the local community’s democratic rights, yet when the vote came in Parliament both were found wanting,’ he said.

Mr McGrath did not vote and Mrs Godfrey voted against retaining the provision.

‘I don’t support forced amalgamations and I don’t support the poll provision being taken out of the Local Government Act,’ Mr McGrath said.

‘As this was only a motion put forward by the Opposition and basically a political stunt, I decided to abstain from voting.’

Mrs Godfrey said she voted against how the issue was handled in parliament as it was moved with only 10 minutes to debate.

‘This was a deliberate move by the Opposition, which meant Ben Wyatt was the only person allowed to speak on the issue and neither the Minister for Local Government or even the Shadow Minister had a chance to reply before a vote,’ she said.

‘The Dadour provision is yet to be debated in the Liberal party room, so I voted against the way this issue was handled.’

Victoria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughan said he was not surprised by the outcome.

‘I am disappointed, especially if the community does not end up having a voice in local government reform. We are a society built on democratic principles, and any law that disenfranchises our people will only weaken that democracy,’ he said.

South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty said the provisions existed to protect smaller councils from take-over by larger neighbours.

‘The City supports WALGA’s position on the retention of the provisions. We oppose the removal of the provisions from the Local Government Act in perpetuity.’