Western Australia

WA Government's local government reform agenda placed on hold

THE Western Australian Government last week said it has placed its local government reform agenda on hold, with Governor's orders for boundary adjustments that are not supported by the councils involved to be revoked.

Premier Colin Barnett said boundary adjustments for 15 metropolitan councils would only proceed if affected councils provided a council resolution in support of it.

"The onus of achieving the many benefits of a modern, streamlined and efficient system of local government now rests with the councils themselves," Mr Barnett said.

Above: Perth, WA / by Richard Giles.

"We will work with each council on a case-by-case basis. This is about achieving value for money for ratepayers.

"We will work with those councils that wish to continue on the reform path, or who have proposals for alternative mergers they wish to consider.

"Any financial contribution to this process will only be considered in the case of a merger."

The Premier said he appreciated the work undertaken by the City of Vincent and the City of Perth on the proposed City of Perth Act and this legislation remained a government priority and was due to be introduced in this session of State Parliament.

"We will proceed with the City of Perth Act, whether Vincent is included or not," he said.

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said the State Government started down the path of local government reform at the request of the local government sector after successive reports questioned the financial sustainability of many small councils.

"They asked us to show leadership on this issue; we've done that but accept that some councils refuse to move forward. The ball is now in their court," Mr Simpson said.

The Minister will invite mayors from adjoining local governments to discuss with him the proposed mergers and signify their council's intent.

"Governor's orders will be revoked for mergers that aren't supported by the councils," he said.

More information is available from the Department of Local Government and Communities website at <http://metroreform.dlg.wa.gov.au/>.

Photo: Perth, WA / Richard Giles / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0.

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