Merger character test

Residents of the City of Belmont and Shire of Kalamunda are concerned that a merger between the two local governments could compromise the character of each region.
Residents of the City of Belmont and Shire of Kalamunda are concerned that a merger between the two local governments could compromise the character of each region.

Last Tuesday, Local Government Minister Tony Simpson revealed the new boundaries for local governments to be implemented by July 1, 2015, reducing metropolitan councils from 30 to 14.

The Government has also suspended the Dadour amendment in the Local Government Act, removing the right of residents and ratepayers to force a referendum on amalgamation.

City of Belmont Mayor Phil Marks said councillors had received significant feedback about the amalgamation plans from unhappy residents, but without the power to change the plan the council would endeavour to manage the situation in the best interest of the community.

‘It is evident that the State Government’s intention is to leave local government with no alternative other than to comply with what they have put forward,’ Mr Marks said. ‘The interests of the community will always be at the forefront of any action we take and we will ensure our community is kept informed.’

Kalamunda President Sue Bilich said the Government’s decision showed ‘complete contempt’ for the community’s wishes and the process to implement amalgamations was ‘undemocratic’.

‘Councils have been advised that those who do not comply will be replaced with commissioners, who have no knowledge of the local community,’ Cr Bilich said.

East Metropolitan Region MLC Samantha Rowe said Belmont stakeholders had called her concerned about possible rate increases and how the merger of two distinct local authorities could comprise Belmont’s character.