Show G4 benefits: Mayor

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett and Fremantle MHR Melissa Parke talk Prime Minister Julia Gillard through the plans.
Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett and Fremantle MHR Melissa Parke talk Prime Minister Julia Gillard through the plans.

‘Our intention is only to start looking at the G4 proposal subject to the Government finding the money for the merger and showing the social and economic benefits of the change,’ Mr Norris said.

At this month’s meeting, councillors will consider only noting Claremont’s recommendation that the Local Government Advisory Board be asked to investigate merging that town and its three southern neighbours.

Mr Norris said his council may discuss a G4 only after Local Government Minister Tony Simpson announces which boundaries the Government wants for all of Perth’s 30 councils. Cottesloe Mayor Kevin Morgan said Mr Simpson gave no indication of his intentions when they met recently.

He said he now expected a G7 ” merging all western suburbs councils ” was ‘guaranteed’. This is because a G4 required changing the Local Government Act’s poll provisions so a single council’s ratepayers could not stop a merger, and the Government has always mooted 100,000-plus resident councils.

‘I told him that the biggest disincentive to voters was enforced mergers, councillors needed to have input into any changes and community groups, like Coast Care and the toy library should start thinking regionally, while mergers should not be done quickly in a ‘big bang’ approach and no commissioners should be put in,’ Mr Morgan said. Cottesloe Council is investigating if its assets can have protective covenants to stop them being sold to pay for mergers or any new council’s projects.

Mr Simpson said council assets would remain with local governments regardless of any mergers.

Claremont is waiting for the Government to change the Act so the votes of all ratepayers from a group of merging councils are consolidated, wiping out Peppermint Grove residents’ ability to rebuff the G4 supported by Premier Colin Barnett.