Delay adds to growing council uncertainty

‘This is critical as the real issue is not about just drawing lines on maps but this is about the amendment and giving people a chance to vote on it,’ Nedlands councillor and former Liberal Party leader Bill Hassell said.

Last Tuesday, Mr Barnett said legislation erasing the amendment would not be put to his MPs for at least a month after at least five Liberal MLCs and two MLAs publicly voiced concerns about merger costs and getting rid of the amendment.

Plans include creating 14 councils, including a western suburbs G7.

However, Mr Barnett said councils’ submissions about the G7 were still needed by October 4, leaving councils unclear if their replies would be affected by a later residents’ vote.

The MPs’ split from their Government’s proposals followed councils, led by Subiaco, lobbying in the past six weeks to save the amendment.

Only five Liberal MLCs were needed to vote with Labor and the Greens for the Government’s changes to the Act to fail.

Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson said about 27 MPs’ replies indicated the lobbying alone had not caused the split as MPs were being pressured by their constituencies.

Erasing the amendment could stop residents of Peppermint Grove torpedoing the G7 but President Rachel Thomas said Mr Barnett’s delay would not affect her council not making a submission on the G7, after community consultation showed it was not supported and residents were unconvinced about costs.

However, Cambridge Mayor Simon Withers said the Dadour Amendment’s ability to protect councils was ‘illusory’ because its requirement for a 50 per cent voter turnout could only be achieved at Peppermint Grove.

‘People see it as a weak link in the Government’s reform plans and they’ve attacked it and done pretty well,’ Mr Withers said, whose council currently appears to be the only one in the G7 sending a submission.

Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins said not knowing for at least month how the amendment would be changed could affect his council’s decision about a submission at a special meeting expected on October 1.