Call for early border control

Troy Pickard.
Troy Pickard.

‘If the Government siphoned off the boundary issue within a month or so that would be welcomed by the sector as it provides clarity with which to work in,’ Mr Pickard, a Liberal Party member, said.

He said the three-year debate on 30 councils’ futures had made it difficult to attract staff to councils where decisions had often entered monthly ‘holding patterns’ to cope with uncertainty.

The Government has not said when it will decide on either 12 councils suggested by the Robson Review into local government, 16 backed by a group of 19 councils (G19) or 15 to 20 preferred by Premier Colin Barnett, after replies to the review closed on April 5.

WALGA expects it could take two months for Local Government Minister Tony Simpson to consider 270 submissions sent to the Government about the review, after Alan Robson’s panel considered about 450 contributions before last October.

Prof. Robson said he had no subsequent contact with the Government and defended criticism that his recommendations were too broad, including integrated strategic planning, government control of waste disposal and councils’ responsibility for the Swan River.

‘But it was public record that (Premier) Colin Barnett said 12 councils was going too far and it should be 15 to 20,’ he said.

Opposition local government spokesman David Templeman, a former City of Mandurah councillor, said Mr Simpson had to show that ratepayers would not pay for any changes, new councils would not suffer cost-shifting and there would be better strategic planning for Perth.

Mr Simpson said no merger had been decided and he would get ‘personal feedback’ from all councils but preferred options for change come through WALGA.