Govt ‘may follow through on threat’

Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris.
Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris.

Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said the government would be happy with the result.

‘That allows the board to start its (review) process, and I would be pretty amazed if the board doesn’t conclude that the Government’s 14-council model was the best outcome,’ Cr Norris said.

He said the Government may now follow through on its ‘threat’ to send its own submissions otherwise the board would not have a model that matched its own plans, including merging the western suburbs councils into a G7.

Mosman Park, Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove, Claremont, Nedlands and Subiaco rejected the G7 and were among 12 councils that did not reply to the board, while another six councils put conditions on what new borders they wanted.

Belmont and Kalamunda councils will now share $200,000 from the Government to investigate a merger after they sent conforming submissions, as will Bayswater and Bassendean, but the City of South Perth wrote to the Government to challenge a refusal for money last week.

‘I believe we were almost compliant (in our submission),’ said City of South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty.

Asked how reform could continue with just a few councils having implementation funding, a Department of Local Government spokeswoman said some councils planned mergers without committee money.

LGAB chairman Mel Congerton said non-conforming submissions would not hinder analysis of the others for recommendations to Local Government Minister Tony Simpson expected in 2014, and there should be extra resources to look at expected late Government submissions.

Mr Simpson’s spokeswoman said he was not in a position to detail or give a time for any State Government submissions.

– In Parliament last week, Premier Colin Barnett ducked questions on scrapping or diluting proposed changes to the Local Government Act’s Dadour Amendment, which allows for a poll of residents on mergers. An Opposition-backed vote to support the current amendment failed 17-31 along party lines.