No change to Rockingham

Premier Colin Barnett with Local Government Minister Tony Simpson. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d404960
Premier Colin Barnett with Local Government Minister Tony Simpson. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d404960

On Tuesday, Mr Barnett announced the Government’s plan to reduce metropolitan councils from 30 to just 14, creating nine new local government areas.

The City’s boundaries will remain the same, along with Wanneroo and Joondalup, while the neighbouring City of Kwinana will merge with the City of Cockburn from July 2015.

Mayor Barry Sammels said it was business as usual for the City.

‘Our boundaries, voting methods and councillor terms remain unchanged, so it will be business as usual for us,’ he said.

‘Our contemporaries are set to merge effective from July 1, 2015 and I would like to wish them the best of luck through this process of change, and we are here to offer any advice or support.’

Neighbouring Kwinana could have as little as 20 per cent representation on a new merged Kwinana-Cockburn council, creating a mega-council of 132,000 residents.

Mr Barnett said local governments needed to have the scale and capacity to deal with modern challenges.

‘Council reform will deliver a more strategic, co-ordinated approach across the metropolitan area for issues like planning, road networks, waste management, the Swan River, recreation, housing and health,’ he said.

The State Government has abolished the Dadour Amendment, which could have allowed residents to stop the Kwinana-Cockburn merger if 50 per cent of ratepayers voted against it.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan blasted the decision to amalgamate councils.

‘His latest broken promise to arrogantly impose big, bureaucratic super-councils on local communities across Perth is particularly galling,’ he said.

Councils now have until October 4 to compile and submit a report on the changes.

If they do, they will earn a $200,000 ‘carrot’.

If not, Local Government Minister Tony Simpson will write the report for them.

City of Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett welcomed the changes, dubbing it ‘a merger between friends’ and said ‘residents will soon benefit from our partnership’.