Coun­cils united by re­form process

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Local Government Reform - Su­sanne Reilly

RATEPAY­ERS from South Perth and Vic­to­ria Park coun­cils will be af­fected by sweep­ing changes to lo­cal gov­ern­ment bor­ders an­nounced by the State Gov­ern­ment last week after years of spec­u­la­tion.

Premier Colin Bar­nett said de­spite all the con­sul­ta­tion and dis­cus­sion, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment sec­tor was not ca­pa­ble of han­dling its own re­form.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son said 30 met­ro­pol­i­tan coun­cils would be re­duced to 16 with a re­duc­tion of more than 100 coun­cil­lors and 10 chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cers.

“(The changes will pro­duce) es­ti­mated sav­ings of more than $20 mil­lion for elected mem­ber al­lowances and at least $30 mil­lion in CEO pack­ages over 10 years,” he said.

The Town of Vic­to­ria Park and City of South Perth is one of three merg­ers achieved through amal­ga­ma­tions.

This means the com- mu­nity can pe­ti­tion to vote on the pro­posal.

“If both coun­cils have the poll and one comes back say­ing the com­mu­nity doesn’t want to be amal­ga­mated then it falls through,” Vic­to­ria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughan said. “We haven’t as a coun­cil made a decision; it is up to the com­mu­nity, not the coun­cil.”

South Perth Mayor Sue Do­herty said she be­lieved the South Perth commu- nity would trig­ger a poll.

“There is quite an ac­tive group out there that don’t want to join Vic­to­ria Park and I be­lieve that has come about be­cause of the process and the con­tin­ued un­cer­tainty,” she said.

Mr Vaughan said the two coun­cils had been suc­cess­ful in giv­ing the com­mu­nity what it wanted dur­ing re­form the process.

The coun­cils will con­tinue to meet sep­a­rately un­til June next year. A Lo­cal Im­ple­men­ta­tion Com­mit­tee will again meet if South Perth gives the go-ahead after it with­drew from the com­mit­tee as a po­lit­i­cal state­ment against the lack of State Gov­ern­ment fund­ing for the changes.

May­ors will meet with the State Gov­ern­ment in Fre­man­tle to­mor­row to dis­cuss re­form de­tails.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey

South Perth Mayor Sue Do­herty and Vic­to­ria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughan.

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