Councils call for compensation

�It�s just a case of money down the drain,� Cambridge Mayor Simon Withers said.

Cambridge was the only western suburbs council in a claim organised by the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) that councils whose mergers were accepted by the Government in 2014 be repaid $5.4 million they spent on mergers before the plans were quashed.

Mr Withers said hiring extra staff and consultants comprised most of the $434,000 but future services and rates would not be affected as the money had come from previous budgets.

�When you consider $15 million was budgeted by the State for the merger process, a claim for $5.4 million for work undertaken in preparation is certainly reasonable,� WALGA president Troy Pickard said.

WALGA refused a request from the Town of Mosman Park to be part of the claim and get back about $100,000 because the LGAB-recommended City of Riversea for the western suburbs was rejected by the Government.

�That�s outrageous because we still had to go through the merger process and still had to respond to the Government�s requests,� Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said.

Mr Norris said WALGA�s rejection might prompt his council to withdraw from the organisation.

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said WALGA�s right to make representations for its members was respected but the Government had said grants between $50,000 and $200,000, totalling $1.7 million, were provided to prepare for mergers and no further expense claims would be considered.