WALGA deaf to members: councillor

WALGA president Troy Pickard.
WALGA president Troy Pickard.

At a tense WALGA central zone meeting at Mosman Park Council last Thursday, Claremont Deputy Mayor Bruce Haynes successfully got through a motion proposing the State Council only have the power to endorse definitions of significant changes to a council, after WALGA mooted it be half of a council’s rates, residents or area.

Mayors claimed that a WALGA report after its August AGM indicated the State Council could decide the definition, which the central zone opposed.

The definition will determine whether State Government-proposed border changes or just amalgamations will trigger a poll.

Cr Haynes said the WALGA AGM report challenged the intent of the motion agreed by the large majority of WA councils, and it needed reinforcing.

The zone also adopted another motion asking WALGA to withdraw from mergers if the Government did not commit $100 million for changes.

Five of six WALGA zones passed similar requests recently that will be determined at the State Council meeting tomorrow. The central zone also agreed the State Council be told WALGA conduct an inquiry into its accountability and possible interference in policy making.

WALGA president Troy Pickard was criticised by Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris for August 24 and July 9 emails critical of merger opposition Councils for Democracy, before Peppermint Grove Cr Charles Hohnen said WALGA was deaf to its members and it wanted to ‘cosy up with politicians’.

Mr Pickard said he could cope with personal attacks but 15 other zones could have other opinions at State Council.

He cautioned that changing a WALGA-approved definition of ‘significant change’ could risk many residents’ votes on changes because the definition was not in the Local Government Act.

After meeting the Government last week, Mr Pickard said no merger money would be announced before the State Council meeting. The motions from the central zone meeting will be presented with those from 16 other zones at State Council.