Residents rally at Parliament to push for reform poll
SOUTH Perth’s Cecilia Brooke joined others outside State Parliament last Tuesday to call for a vote on planned council mergers.
In October, the Government said it would cut metropolitan councils from 30 to 16, some via boundary adjustments that do not require a vote and three amalgamations with polls.
However, merger critics say some boundary adjustments were chosen to prevent the public using the Local Government Act’s Dadour Amendment that says a petition of at least 250 signatures can trigger a poll, at which half of electors must vote for a valid decision.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan took Subiaco, SerpentineJarrahdale, Canning, Vincent, South Perth and Kalamunda residents’ petitions to Parliament, while other Cockburn, Kwinana and City Beach petitions may be ready by December 5.
“My concern is for 10,000 people in Canning joining the South Perth-Victoria Park merger, who don’t have a vote, when many are from low socio-economic areas where they are the going to get extra rates (from) a merger,” Ms Brooke said.
Victoria Park residents also want to know how their merger with South Perth will survive when Premier Colin Barnett has mooted putting the Burswood Peninsula in to the new City of Perth in five years.
Petitioners allege the Government corrupted the Dadour Amendment when it chose boundary adjustments ahead of amalgamations.
“Boundary adjustments are only supposed to be for minor changes of a council’s borders, like adding a new park or a couple of streets, not taking over an entire council,” Serpentine-Jarrahdale resident Maureen Humphreys said.
On November 25, the Supreme Court will hear a legal bid alleging that the merger process was illegal, as well as a separate request for a judicial review of why boundary adjustments were chosen.
Petition organisers Jackie Dines, Greg Jones, Ian Ker, Cecilia Brooke, Mary Harris, Mary Adams, John Humphreys and Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson.