WA re­form fund­ing falls short

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Como Local Government Reform -

WA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (WALGA) pres­i­dent Troy Pickard says a $1 bil­lion com­mit­ment by the New South Wales gov­ern­ment for coun­cil merg­ers high­lights the lack of fund­ing pro­vided by the WA gov­ern­ment.

The NSW gov­ern­ment’s $1 bil­lion fund­ing pro­vides $153 mil­lion for Syd­ney met­ro­pol­i­tan coun­cils.

In con­trast, the WA gov­ern­ment is pro­vid­ing $60 mil­lion for met- ropoli­tan coun­cil re­form, $15 mil­lion in grants and $45 mil­lion as low in­ter­est loans.

“The NSW gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment demon­strates a clearer un­der­stand­ing on the true cost of re­form and the need for strong and prop­erly re­sourced lo­cal gov­ern­ments,” Mr Pickard said.

But Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son said the WA pack­age equated to about $2 mil­lion for each of the 30 coun­cils and was com­pa­ra­ble to the roughly $3.73 mil­lion pro­vided for each of Syd­ney’s 41 coun­cils.

He said when in­clud­ing the num­ber of res­i­dents per coun­cil, the WA fund­ing was about $31.97 per per­son, while NSW fund­ing pro­vided about $34.55 per per­son.

Mr Pickard said re­search sug­gested the av­er­age cost of merg­ers would be be­tween $4.1 mil­lion and $7.2 mil­lion per amal­ga­ma­tion.

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