‘All of a sudden, out of the blue, comes this amendment which changes a (WALGA State Council) motion so we now have a position not supported by the whole local government sector, and it reflects what the Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said would originally happen to the poll provisions,’ irate Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson said.
Last Wednesday, WALGA’s State Council replaced a motion from its recent AGM that condemned the Government for removing the provisions in new legislation expected in Parliament on Thursday.
The council then approved increasing the number of residents who could petition for a poll on new borders from 10 per cent to 25 per cent of a council’s ratepayers, and accepted that all the votes from a group of merging councils be consolidated so 50 per cent would be needed to reject the Government’s boundaries.
The limits were proposed by Mr Simpson several months ago, rejected by the majority of councils at the annual general meeting and later opposed by the seven western suburbs councils.
Mrs Henderson, who with City of Perth deputy mayor Janet Davidson voted against changing the motion, said the new resolution got rid of ratepayers’ opportunity to oppose the mergers forced by the Government.
However, motion proponent and City of Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones said the changes allowed councils and ratepayers to have a poll when the Government would have previously just erased the provisions entirely.
Mr Zelones said needing 25 per cent of voters to request a poll would prevent ‘undemocratic’ small groups organising a vote.
The new motion came from WALGA and its president Mayor Troy Pickard said it referred to ‘the scope under which we would support amendments’ the Government proposes to the poll provisions, instead of their removal.