POLL PE­TI­TION UN­DER THREAT

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - OPINION -

AS mem­bers of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Ad­vi­sory Board (LGAB), Vic­to­ria Park chief ex­ec­u­tive An­thony Vuleta and se­nior gov­er­nance of­fi­cer Russ Fish­wick are ad­vo­cat­ing to make it much more dif­fi­cult for cit­i­zens to have their say on amal­ga­ma­tions and bound­ary changes.

These two em­ploy­ees of the Town of Vic­to­ria Park make up 40 per cent of the five-mem­ber gov­ern­men­tap­pointed board.

In a sub­mis­sion to the cur­rent Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act re­view, the LGAB is propos­ing to dou­ble the num­ber of peo­ple re­quired to pe­ti­tion the Gov­ern­ment to call a poll and that all par­ties to an amal­ga­ma­tion pro­posal have to re­ject the amal­ga­ma­tion.

The poll, known as a Dadour poll af­ter Tom Dadour, the MP who fought to have this right en­shrined in the Act, is the only fail-safe mech­a­nism avail­able to the public for when our politi­cians get it wrong.

In 2014 the com­mu­ni­ties in three sets of forced amal­ga­ma­tions suc­cess­fully re­jected the Bar­nett gov­ern­ment’s plans through such a poll, but the changes pro­posed by the LGAB will make that task so much more dif­fi­cult and if these changes had been in place in 2014 all three polls would have failed, with the re­sult that South Perth and Vic­to­ria Park would now be amal­ga­mated, as would Fre­man­tle and East Fre­man­tle, and Kwinana and Cock­burn.

This is a clear at­tack on the rights of cit­i­zens to have a say on the fu­ture of their com­mu­ni­ties and ex­poses the un­demo­cratic mind­set of the ad­vi­sory board. VINCE MAXWELL, Vic­to­ria Park

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