MERGER ORDERS COULD BE SCRAPPED
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.
Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson.