Push for more polls on mergers

Push for more polls on mergers

Councils will also now get a final say on a new definition of ‘significant change’ to a council, which could trigger more polls.

‘Now it has to go to WALGA’s State Council and the zones’ delegates to work on, which is terrific,’ Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson said, who is fighting to keep laws allowing residents’ votes.

At the AGM, Canning commissioner Linton Reynolds proposed a motion that WALGA support polls when one or more districts are merged, after Government-proposed, two-council mergers avoided polls in 12 councils outside the proposed seven-council western suburbs’ amalgamation.

The motion also backed WALGA’s opposition to Government ‘manipulation’ of the laws that defined the 12 mergers as boundary adjustments.

Currently, WALGA considers 50 per cent of population, properties or rates, and no other criteria such as loss of a housing estate or industrial strip, to be significant.

Backing the motion, Vincent Mayor John Carey said WALGA needed to offer ‘a carrot’ to the Government, such as a ‘significant’ attribute that could be lost by a council.

He said it also needed to be decided if a merger’s effect on population, rates, a developing area or industrial strip could be cited for a poll, which needed a petition from 250 residents or 10 per cent of a council’s population.

Delegates voted 197-32 in favour of Mr Reynolds’ motion, which will take WALGA two months to consider after Local Government Minister Tony Simpson told the AGM he expected to announce new borders ‘several weeks’ after recommendations late this month.

Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said it was ‘highly likely’ more Perth ratepayers would have polls because Mr Simpson would not avoid using boundary changes as a ‘stunt’ to denying their right to a say on change.

Mr Simpson said Canning’s motion would have no impact on the Government’s reform of local government.

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