MERGER OR­DERS COULD BE SCRAPPED

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BAS­SETT

NED­LANDS Mayor Max Hip­kins was a dis­ap­pointed lone voice af­ter telling min­is­ters to re­verse Gover­nor’s Or­ders chang­ing nine coun­cils’ bor­ders and end un­cer­tainty be­fore State Cabi­net yes­ter­day.

“I think Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son was hedg­ing his bets when he kept say­ing ‘No forced amal­ga­ma­tions’, but he did not say whether he’d re­scind the or­ders,” Mr Hip­kins said.

Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett mooted sev­eral weekly Cabi­net meet­ings could be needed to rec­tify the fall­out from his sur­ren­der to cut­ting Perth coun­cils from 30 to 16 af­ter Fre­man­tle, Cock­burn and South Perth coun­cils’ amal­ga­ma­tions were scut­tled by res­i­dents’ polls 10 days ago.

The rem­nants from his Gov­ern­ment’s six-year re­form process are now the Gover­nor’s Or­ders for a Subiaco-Cam­bridge merger and a pos­si­ble City of Perth Act that does not in­clude the City of Vin­cent.

Mr Hip­kins, whose coun­cil was to join the pro­posed City of Ri­versea that the Gov­ern­ment did not sup­port while City of Perth’s new bor­ders and pow­ers were de­cided, said coun­cils could not plan, hire or bud­get with­out an im­me­di­ate an­nounce­ment on the or­ders and the Act.

“The big­gest is­sue Ned­lands has with Perth’s bor­der change is we could lose Hol­ly­wood Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal and its $380,000 in rates each year and that would af­fect out rates base, so ei­ther our rates go up or we de­crease ser­vices,” he said.

Be­fore Cabi­net, Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son flagged more time be­fore giv­ing clar­ity on the or­ders and the Act, say­ing more talks with coun­cils af­fected by Gover­nor’s Or­ders were needed to find out which coun­cils still wanted to go ahead and which or­ders needed re­vers­ing.

“As this had been a vol­un­tary process all along, if they don’t want to go for­ward with it, then we will work with those lo­cal gov­ern­ments about re­vers­ing those or­ders,” Mr Simp­son said.

He said Ri­versea’s fu­ture was in the hands of its mem­ber may­ors.

Pic­ture: Mar­cus Whisson d433435

Ned­lands Mayor Max Hip­kins and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son.

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