Variance in voting rights

In his Local Government Advisory Board submission, Local Government Minister Tony Simpson proposed a G7 created by a full amalgamation, potentially triggering residents’ polls allowed by the Dadour Amendment of the Local Government Act.

However, polls would be prevented at the 20 other merging councils because they would just be boundary changes where one council is abolished to be taken over by its neighbour.

Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said splitting the right to vote again showed the Government made decisions for councils without thinking of the consequences.

Mr Norris said it was assumed Mr Simpson was confident no G7 poll could reverse his plans because it had been indicated by private surveys that the 50 per cent voter turnout to make a result law could not be achieved at any council.

Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson said Mr Simpson had disenfranchised the communities of the 20 other councils, and while there had been no discussion with her council about splitting access to polls, her council had been suspicious of the Government when it first sought legal advice on the provisions last November.

Cambridge Mayor Simon Withers was concerned whether the Government would change the Dadour amendment because currently a ‘no’ from one council in a group to be merged can stop change.

Asked if it was fair to split ratepayers’ right to vote, Mr Simpson’s spokeswomen referred to her minister’s speech when he said he preferred boundary adjustments for a smoother transitions at the launch of an online toolkit for mergers last week.

‘At least one of the councils will continue, so there is no need for new bank accounts, ABN numbers or GST registration,’ Mr Simpson said.

Mayors of the proposed G7 will discuss the latest merger developments, including the poll proposals, when they meet tomorrow.