City to ask for cash back


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

AF­TER spend­ing more than $320,000 on lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form, the City of South Perth says it will be seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion from the State Gov­ern­ment, but Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett says there is no case for “so­called re­im­burse­ment.”

Mayor Sue Do­herty said the coun­cil worked in “good faith” to com­ply with Gov­ern­ment poli­cies.

She said the Gov­ern­ment re­fused to move its July 1 dead­line, which forced the City to start im­ple­ment­ing the pro­gram.

Mr Bar­nett said coun­cils chose to go out and in some cases spend more money.

“There is no case for re­im­burse­ment,” he said.

“There was $65 mil­lion put aside by the State Gov­ern­ment for this process. That will sim­ply now re­turn to Trea­sury.”

Af­ter rais­ing the ‘white flag’ last week, Mr Bar­nett said there was still a prob­lem.

“The prob­lem is 140 lo­cal gov­ern­ments in WA,” he said.

“A num­ber oc­cupy less than five square kilo­me­tres, a num­ber less than 500 peo­ple.

That is not func­tional for this cen­tury and most peo­ple, most think­ing peo­ple, in lo­cal gov­ern­ments ac­knowl­edge that.”

Mrs Do­herty said the re­form process had been a fail­ure.

“To hear the Pre­mier is now back­ing away from this process given the amount of time and re­sources the City has in­vested in proac­tively work­ing ... with the Town of Vic­to­ria Park is frus­trat­ing,” she said.

“Our coun­cil was ready and will­ing to im­ple­ment re­form un­til the State Gov­ern­ment back­flipped on fund­ing the process and de­cided that our ratepay­ers should foot the bill – this is to­tally un­ac­cept­able.”

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