SUBIACO LODGES LEGAL APPEAL
THE City of Subiaco yesterday lodged an appeal against its failed Supreme Court action over the State Government merger process.
At a special council meeting last Wednesday, Subiaco councillors voted to appeal Chief Justice Wayne Martin’s November 25 decision to reject arguments by Subiaco, South Perth, Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Peppermint Grove councils that the Government acted illegally before announcing local government reforms in October.
Chief executive Stephen Tindale said Subiaco was the only local government contesting the Supreme Court decision.
Mr Tindale said the City had set an $80,000 budget for the appeal, but could not confirm the total cost of its original action.
“The City believes there is a favourable case for appeal on three grounds: the meaning of an affected elector, the constructive abolition of local governments and conflicts of interest amongst the Local Government Advisory Board members,” he said.
Cottesloe lawyer John Hammond and council’s lawyer Chris Shanahan will be retained as the City’s legal counsel for the appeal.
Serpentine-Jarrahdale Shire President Keith Ellis said they would not join Subiaco because the council was “unable to assist the appeal process financially”.
Peppermint Grove President Rachel Thomas said it would not be part of Subiaco’s appeal.
“We read the decision from the Chief Justice and in our section of the decision we don’t think we have a strong case for appealing it,” Mrs Thomas said.
She said Subiaco’s appeal would be analysed and potentially discussed at her council.
South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty said the City had not yet made a decision regarding an appeal.
Cr Mark Burns said the other parties to the litigation would have been “a distraction” to Subiaco’s appeal.
“The Chief Justice, arguably, has made an error of the law,” Cr Burns said.
Cr Leanne Potter was the only councillor to reject the staff report recommending an appeal.
Mayor Heather Henderson said the City had an “obligation to the local government sector” to question the “fundamentally flawed” process.
Councillors will decide whether to set up a Local Implementation Committee with the Town of Cambridge regarding the Government’s plans to merge the two districts at its meeting tonight.