Merger announcement to be met with injunction

Lawyer John Hammond.
Lawyer John Hammond.

‘If the board does not agree to refrain from delivering its recommendations, then we will make an application to the court for any injunction,’ the councils’ lawyer John Hammond said.

Last Wednesday, a legal action for Subiaco, Serpentine-Jarrahdale and South Perth councils, and Vincent resident Ian Ker, alleged councils were forced to propose their demise, had no option to keep current borders and LGAB members had conflicts of interest.

The councils claim they will take their case to the Federal High Court if unsuccessful in the WA Supreme Court.

‘I think they will potentially bankrupt their councils,’ Premier Colin Barnett said when asked if his Government would also go to the higher court.

When asked about the court action, Mr Barnett said rates were paid ‘for services, and not to have individuals go to court for their own reasons’.

He said ratepayers were ‘entitled’ to be angry about using their money to go to courts.

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said any Supreme Court action would be fought, after the councils gave the LGAB until 5pm yesterday to reply to their request to delay announcing new borders.

Because of the action, board chairman Mel Congerton would not comment on a delay, or about Claremont Council withdrawing its G4-plus proposal to the board and allocating about $4000 to support the legal bid at its meeting last week.

However, interviewed between the meeting and the action, Mr Congerton said the G4-plus proposal could not be withdrawn after it had been lodged in July 2013.

Claremont sent the proposal to combat an eventually failed Government attempt to ditch the Local Government Act’s Dadour poll provisions.

The City of Vincent’s 2015/15 budget has $30,000 for merger legal costs, which Mayor John Carey said was for any potential court case.

– Smithy’s view p8