Res­i­dents rally at Par­lia­ment to push for re­form poll

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

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.

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