Local Governments take State Government to court over proposed council amalgamations

Lawyer John Hammond.
Lawyer John Hammond.

THE State Government now faces two courtroom bids challenging choices for new councils and the process that brought 30 mayors to hear they would be cut to 16 across Perth in mergers last month.

The new bid comprises Peppermint Grove, Subiaco, South Perth and Serpentine-Jarrahdale councils requesting a Supreme Court judicial review of why some Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB) recommended borders were accepted but not others, by the Government last month.

In the western suburbs, the recommended G5 City of Riversea of Nedlands, Claremont, Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove and Mosman Park council was rejected, leaving the councils in limbo until the introduction of new City of Perth legislation, while vocal merger opponent Subiaco was scrapped in a Cambridge takeover using a border adjustment without a residents’ poll.

Peppermint Grove joined the request to protect the Dadour poll provision that allows residents to vote on an amalgamation of two councils or more that is allegedly being avoided by the Government choosing border changes.

‘We know from community feedback, including a heavily supported petition, that our residents want to have the opportunity to vote on any recommendation to amalgamate the Shire with other council districts, and we are acting to protect that right,’ Peppermint Grove President Rachel Thomas said.

A separate, three-month-old legal action from Subiaco, Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Kalamunda councils, with Vincent resident Ian Ker, challenges the Government’s methods that got councils to propose change and seeks to protect residents’ polls and claims conflicts of interest at the LGAB.

Action lawyer John Hammond said Peppermint Grove and Subiaco had discussed the judicial review before it was announced and filed at the Supreme Court last Tuesday, and it was hoped the review and action would be heard together on November 25.

‘I do not know what the various shires and councils will do if the action fails, and in this regard we will wait until the outcome of the hearing,’ Mr Hammond said.