‘If your merger proposal does not fit with the Government’s preferred model, (the) minister may put forward a counter proposal to the Local Government Advisory Board,’ Local Government Minister Tony Simpson told mayors at last week’s announcement.
Mr Simpson said ‘minor boundary changes, but not wholesale changes’ could be tolerated and councils could develop a solid case to move a few streets or blocks after talking to the board to ‘iron out any anomalies’.
Each of the nine groups of merging councils has been given $200,000 to organise committees, which will write submissions to the board about what council they want by October 4. The board, established in 1995 to advise ministers on border changes, will evaluate each submission and send a recommendation to Mr Simpson, who told mayors if they did not send a submission, the Government would put in its own.
‘He basically said he would gazump us,’ Cottesloe Mayor Kevin Morgan said.
The Government’s plan calls for each group of merging councils to send a representative to its Metropolitan Reform Implementation Committee (MetRIC), chaired by a Department of Local Government bureaucrat, that would report to Mr Simpson.
After the submissions, nine Local Implementation Committees (LICs) will be formed to control all aspects of each merger.
Commissioners will run the new councils for their first three months from July, 2015, after which there will be elections for the first councillors in October that year.
The Government will seek to change the Local Government Act so ratepayers will be prevented from having a poll on the mergers, and add two members to the currently four-member Local Government Advisory Board.