Local government authorities operate under the State Government and are subject to its legislation under the Local Government Act 1995. Therefore, any legislation passed through Parliament concerning local government bodies is democratically processed.
Western Australia is the only state and territory not to undergo restructure and reform in the past 30 years. What Premier Barnett has done deserves praise for dragging local governments into the 21st century.
I’m no friend of Mr Barnett; however, on this issue of council amalgamations he is correct on every count.
It is ridiculous to have the number of local governments with all their bureaucrats and enormous costs of their upkeep when some have residents of only 32,000 men, women and children.
Even more ridiculous is to expect that community to have the same standard of facilities, amenities and services to that of a community of 150,000 – 200,000 people, while both the same communities are paying around the same amount of dollars in rates.
What I believe is outstanding on the issue of amalgamations is the failure by those in the local governments to inform their residents fully of the many benefits that will come to their communities with an amalgamation with another council(s).
Editor’s note: The “scheming” adjective was used to describe Mr Barnett’s word play: he has said all along that amalgamations would not be forced, but in fact, they will be. If councils do not willingly offer up their proposals to the State Government by October 4, they will be forced to join forces whether they like it or not.