Re­form still on hori­zon

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By SO­PHIE GABRIELLE

CAM­BRIDGE Mayor Simon Withers says it is a cer­tainty that a fu­ture gov­ern­ment will come back and con­sol­i­date the west­ern sub­urbs coun­cils. The City of Subiaco with­drew from lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form last Thurs­day, leav­ing Subiaco and Town of Cam­bridge as stand-alone coun­cils. Mr Withers cau­tioned west­ern sub­urbs coun­cils that a time would come when a fu­ture gov­ern­ment res­ur­rected the re­form process. “Many coun­cils are in de­nial on this point,” Mr Withers said. “A quick look at the map shows that the west­ern sub­urbs coun­cils are des­per­ately in need of con­sol­i­da­tion. “Some coun­cils are too small, some have il­log­i­cal bound­aries and taken as a whole, it’s a mess.”

TOWN of Cam­bridge Mayor Simon Withers says while most coun­cils are cel­e­brat­ing the failed lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form “like pa­gans around a may­pole”, he re­grets the missed op­por­tu­nity.

Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett con­firmed last Tues­day that coun­cils which did not want to merge would not be forced into the process.

City of Subiaco Mayor Heather Hen­der­son and Mr Withers met with Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son on Thurs­day to re­quest Subiaco with­draw from the re­form process.

Mrs Hen­der­son said a mu­tual agree­ment to aban­don the Cam­bridge-Subiaco merger was reached at the meet­ing.

“We are con­fi­dent that the Gover­nor’s or­ders (to abol­ish Subiaco from July 1) will be re­voked in a cou­ple of weeks,” she said.

“The Min­is­ter told us that re­form was over for the next decade.”

Mr Withers said he wanted to cre­ate a coun­cil that did not need any fur­ther con­sol­i­da­tion, so that Cam­bridge and Subiaco would not have to go through the process again.

“We are just not big enough to be left alone,” he said.

“Many coun­cils are in de­nial on this point, but it is a cer­tainty that a fu­ture gov­ern­ment will come back and con­sol­i­date the lot.

“A quick look at the map shows that the west­ern sub­urbs coun­cils are des­per­ately in need of con­sol­i­da­tion. Some coun­cils are too small, some have il­log­i­cal bound­aries and taken as a whole, it’s a mess.”

Mrs Hen­der­son said Subiaco would con­sider mak­ing struc­tural changes to coun­cil in the long-term, in­clud­ing re­duc­ing the num­ber of coun­cil­lors to each ward.

“Are we over-rep­re­sented in terms of wards, hav­ing three coun­cil­lors to each ward, is that some­thing we could look at again?” she said.

Subiaco chief ex­ec­u­tive Ian Hill said the City had learned a lot dur­ing the re­form process and he was keen to main­tain that mo­men­tum by sharp­en­ing up its ef­fec­tive­ness and ef­fi­cien­cies.

Mr Withers said Cam­bridge would be seek­ing re­im­burse­ment for its ex­penses, which could amount to as much as $500,000.

“I think the (Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment) Min­is­ter is sym­pa­thetic but the Gov­ern­ment has al­ready said they won’t re­im­burse coun­cils,” he said.

“A lot of the money we spent was spent at the in­sis­tence of the Gov­ern­ment. We are dis­ap­pointed that the process has ended this way be­cause af­ter five years of con­fu­sion and dis­rup­tion we had hoped to come away with some­thing to show for it.”

Cam­bridge chief ex­ec­u­tive Ja­son Buck­ley will con­tinue work­ing on a re­port on the or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture at the town.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d433731

Cam­bridge Mayor Simon Withers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.