Councils attend merger forum

City of Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano with Woodlands Primary School Year 6 students, from left, Rebecca Shepherdson and Grace Izett [NAMES OK]
City of Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano with Woodlands Primary School Year 6 students, from left, Rebecca Shepherdson and Grace Izett [NAMES OK]

The April 24 forum at Mosman Park council will be held while the State Government considers replies to the Robson Review into local government reform that closed last Friday.

Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said his invitation followed Claremont and Cambridge mayors Jock Barker and Simon Withers discussing their councils’ futures with Premier Colin Barnett last month where the Premier supported a G4.

Mr Norris said the forum allowed councillors to fill in gaps about what had been said about changes, but there would be no discussion of a transition process or specifics such as Swanbourne or North Fremantle joining the new council because the State Government had not declared its intentions.

Mr Barker, the prime G4 advocate, said he and at least two of his councillors would attend to hear Cottesloe councillors’ opinions after he met with Subiaco and Cambridge councils that agreed to new councils centred on their districts, before Easter.

Cambridge councillors want the City of Nedlands split with Dalkeith joining the G4 and Nedlands becoming part of a new City of Subiaco.

Mr Barker said there had been no indication in his discussions that Dalkeith would be part of a G4 and theories that change would occur before October council elections were ‘mere speculation’.

‘But it would be better if (Dalkeith) stays part of any new Nedlands-Subiaco council because it’s got significant infrastructure work that’s needed, including river walls,’ he said.

Cottesloe Mayor Kevin Morgan has given no indication he will attend the forum and said Mr Norris was working with the ‘erroneous premise’ that amalgamations would be forced, after Mr Barnett ‘committed’ to not using legislation to forcibly merge councils.

Mr Morgan said a larger G7 regional council that co-ordinated services and kept local democracies was proven to provide better efficiencies for ratepayers by the Australian Productivity Commission report.

Shire of Peppermint Grove President Rachel Thomas she would attend the forum to explain that her council was happy to explore increased collaboration, but not amalgamation.