South Perth MLA John McGrath has urged ratepayers in his constituency to stand up against a State Government proposal under its Local Government amalgamation agenda that will see the City of South Perth come under the control of the Town of Victoria Park for a period from July 1, 2015.
This is a result of the Minister for Local Government putting forward a submission to the Local Government Advisory Board to abolish the City of South Perth and absorb it into the Town of Victoria Park.
The two councils have made submissions for a simple amalgamation, which would see them both dissolved at the same time and commissioners put in place by the government to handle the transition until fresh elections are held.
“Instead of that happening the assets of the people of South Perth will come under the control of the Town of Victoria Park,” Mr McGrath said. “This is a slap in the face to a local government authority that has been prepared to act in a spirit of co-operation with the Government and I am not happy about that.
“If the residents of South Perth also think this is unsatisfactory they should make a submission to the LGAB by 13 March 2014. That is the only way of expressing their views.”
Mr McGrath says it seems wrong in principle that a City Council is to be abolished and its district incorporated into the boundaries of a Town Council.
“If the new enlarged Council is to be created as the Minister wishes, by simply changing boundaries, then I believe it is more appropriate that the City of South Perth boundary be adjusted to incorporate the Town of Victoria Park” he said.
“The public needs to be aware that achieving council mergers by boundary change rather than amalgamation also circumvents the democratic right, under the Local Government Act, for polls to be demanded by residents wishing to have a say on any proposed changes.
“The only way of expressing their views now is to make a submission to the LGAB.
“The Advisory Board is an independent statutory body which makes recommendations to the Minister before he can act on proposed changes to the constitution of local government authorities.”
Mr McGrath says he is not opposed to a new combined South Perth/Victoria Park local government authority provided it incorporates the entire area of both existing councils and does not transfer a portion of the Burswood Peninsula to the City of Perth.
“The Swan River is the natural boundary and Burswood should not be divided between two local government areas,” he said.
“In my view it is imperative for the financial viability of the combined South Perth-Victoria Park council that it retain all of the Burswood Peninsula.”
Written and email submission can be forwarded to the Local Government Advisory Board:
Advisory Board, GPO Box R1250, Perth WA 6844
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for submissions is Thursday 13 March 2014