Merger will go ahead, says consultant

The Claremont resident addressed the Rotary Club of Matilda Bay, where he is a member, last Wednesday morning, suggesting that Premier Colin Barnett would not budge on the reduced number of councils but could be open to boundary changes.

Local governments have until October 4 to present submissions to the Local Government Advisory Board after the State Government’s recent reform announcement that reduces the number of Perth councils from 30 to 14.

Mr Barnett said last week that the finer details of the boundaries were less important to the Government.

The announcement follows last year’s Robson Report that reviewed local government in WA. It was the seventh review since 1954. The seven western suburbs councils would become one, creating an 113,000-resident municipality.

Mr Johnson, who has more than 30 years experience consulting local and state governments and the private sector, told the crowd, that included Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris, Peppermint Grove chief executive John Merrick and several Subiaco councillors, ‘this will go ahead’.

At a Subiaco Business Association breakfast last week, Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the Government’s announcement was a strategic decision and would save money in the long term after an initial outlay.

‘Turn it into a positive,’ Ms Scaffidi said.

Mr Johnson said the process could take up to seven years to complete, even after the 2015 deadline, to synchronise rates, new assets and IT systems.

He said $200,000 had been offered to help groups to merge).

‘The cost of amalgamation is extensive and always underfunded,’ he said.