PERTH Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi has urged the State Government to be bold in its proposed legislative changes to expand its boundaries, saying the reforms represent a one-in-100-year opportunity to shape a stronger capital city and the government must get it right.
"This is about making sure that we have a dedicated vision that is going to put Perth front and centre, which will help the greater metropolitan area and the state of Western Australia," Ms Scaffidi said.
The Lord Mayor said the council will advocate strongly to represent the interests of its stakeholders and to achieve the vision of a stronger capital city in electoral and other aspects of the City of Perth Act, which is expected to be introduced to State Parliament this year.
"It is essential that Perth's special role as the Capital City of Western Australia is recognised by the State Government which intends to introduce the City of Perth Act into Parliament in mid-February with a view to establishing it in July," Ms Scaffidi said.
Ms Scaffidi said rushed timeframes and a narrow scope would unacceptably compromise the whole potential and purpose of the City of Perth Act.
According to the council, the new City of Perth Act should achieve the following:
- Create a new framework for a stronger Capital City to be able to operate locally and globally, securing economic benefits for Perth and Western Australia;
- Define the purpose of the Capital City;
- Empower the City of Perth local government to achieve its objectives;
- Establish a framework for an open and collaborative relationship between the State Government and the City of Perth;
- Accompany a bolder more holistic approach to enhancing the broader legislative framework;
- Integrate the various influences on the planning and development of the City;
- Establish a stronger platform for economic development;
- Streamline and coordinate the elements that contribute to the growth of infrastructure and investment in the City;
- Expand the jurisdiction of the City of Perth initially and establish appropriate mechanisms for future annexation required to meet future demands;
- Form a strong constitutional governance lead by the Lord Mayor whose regally decreed title is duly recognised;
- Preserve the undivided electoral arrangements with a Lord Mayor and eight Councillors;
- Ensure that existing voter franchise groups (particularly non-residential voters) entitlements are not diminished and entrench a fair and appropriate franchise;
- Establish a fair and appropriate mechanism to register voters' entitlements;
- Establish the basis for the City of Perth to operate in a more commercial manner that properly recognises the business environment in which it operates;
- Modernise legislative provisions that have no place in new and bold legislation;
- Facilitate a transition that does not unduly disrupt the continuity of the Capital City local government; and
- Ensure that the transition is both manageable in its timing and affordable in its process, with contribution by State Government to such cost.
The City of Perth's position paper on local government reform and the City of Perth Act is available from the City of Perth website at <http://www.perth.wa.gov.au/city-perth-act-position-paper>.