Tag Archives: Town of Victoria Park

Local Government Reform

South Perth MLA John McGrath says he is extremely pleased with the outcome for his electorate in the State Government’s decision to leave the Burswood Peninsula within the boundary of the proposed new council that will take in South Perth and Victoria Park.

However, he is disappointed that the arrangement might be reviewed in five years.

“When I and some of my parliamentary colleagues supported the City of South Perth in its bid to amalgamate with the Town of Victoria Park, I did so on the explicit condition that Burswood remained within the boundary of the new city,” he said. “Now we are told by the government that the situation will be reviewed in five years’ time.

“To me this is unacceptable.

“I appreciate some of my constituents would prefer the City of South Perth to have remained in its current form but with the inclusion of Burswood I think we are able to achieve a satisfactory compromise that will provide a larger and more sustainable local government authority.

“Keeping Crown Casino, the new Perth stadium and Belmont Park Racecourse within the boundary of the new entity will help create a more exciting and vibrant city in which to live.”

Mr McGrath thanked his MLC colleagues Hon Simon O’Brien, Hon Nick Goiran and Hon Phil Edman for their support in the process. “We made a joint submission to the Local Government Advisory Board in support of the proposal advanced by the South Perth and Victoria Park councils,” he said.

Mr McGrath said: “I also agree with the decision to use the amalgamation provisions of the Local Government Act, which allow for the public to demand a poll on the proposal. I believe the availability of this democratic right will be appreciated within the community.”

Note: The Board has selected the name ‘South Park’ for the new local government in the interim until the newly elected council votes on a new name, in partnership with the community.

City of South Park Map

Burswood Peninsula Petition

On Tuesday I presented a petition to Parliament signed by 3533 residents concerned about parts of Burswood Peninsula being excised from a proposed merger between the City of South Perth and Town of Victoria Park.

The proposal by Minister Tony Simpson to the Local Government Advisory Board is that Crown Casino and the new football stadium be transferred into the City of Perth.

However, the South Perth and Victoria Park councils are adamant that the proposed new local government entity will not be financially viable without the rate revenue coming from Crown.

The petition was circulated by the City of South Perth and presented to me by Mayor Sue Doherty for tabling in the Legislative Assembly.

It said, in part:

“We, the undersigned, respectfully oppose any action by the State Government that will excise any part of the Burswood Peninsula from the Town of Victoria Park, or any entity resulting from any change of boundaries or any proposed amalgamation between the City of South Perth and the Town of Victoria Park.

Your petitioners therefore respectfully request the Legislative Assembly to oppose the annexing of the Burswood Peninsula to the City of Perth and to support us in our endeavours.”

Combining City of South Perth with Town of Victoria Park

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: advisory.board@dpc.wa.gov.au.  The closing date for submissions is Thursday 13 March 2014

Proposed Local Council Amalgamations

The following is an excerpt from a speech I delivered in Parliament on Thursday 15 August 2013 regarding the proposed local government amalgamations. While I am generally supportive of the City of South Perth and Town of Victoria Park merging, it would be a great loss for the amalgamated councils to lose the Crown Casino, which generates $2.8 million in annual rates. I have discussed this with the Premier and explained that the Swan River should be the natural geographic boundary.

 

Extract from Hansard

[ASSEMBLY— Thursday, 15 August 2013]

p3576d-3594a

Mr J.E. McGRATH: A lot has been said in recent weeks about the state government’s plan to reduce the number of councils in the metropolitan area. I must put my position on record in this place because I have made some public comments, some of which were repeated ad nauseam by the opposition. When the Robson report was released, two proposals placed the City of South Perth within the City of Perth, and the City of South Perth is the only local government area in my electorate. My electorate covers the entire City of South Perth. I said publicly at the time that I would not support such a move. I have always had the view that one day the City of South Perth could become like North Sydney with a mix of residential and commercial developments sitting right across the river from our great city. I have always believed that South Perth should retain its identity. When talk of council amalgamation began to swirl around, I became aware that the City of South Perth and the Town of Victoria Park had already begun talks about a possible merger. When the member for Bunbury was the Minister for Local Government, I guess they saw that the movement towards local government amalgamation was on, so they decided to be proactive. I was happy to support that, provided it did not impact adversely on the ratepayers of my electorate. The two councils after some discussion decided to come together and they had a vote, and they agreed to progress the amalgamation on one condition—that they retain the Burswood peninsula, which currently sits in the Town of Victoria Park. By then, it had emerged that the City of Perth had its eyes on Burswood so that it could announce to the world that it was a city with great icons like Crown Perth and the new sports stadium, along with Elizabeth Quay and Kings Park….

When the City of Perth made that claim, I made a statement that I think has been repeated by the member for Victoria Park a few times. I basically said that if Burswood comes out of the planned amalgamation between the City of South Perth and the Town of Victoria Park, all bets would be off because it would be totally unsustainable. The government has since been very strong in its insistence that Crown casino and the new stadium will stay in the City of Perth. The Minister for Local Government has been very good throughout this process. All the councils I speak to think he has been very genuine in trying to bring about the best result for them, and he has worked very hard at it. He drew up a new map that excises the Crown casino and the stadium from the Town of Victoria Park. If this amalgamation goes ahead, the boundary will go around South Perth and Victoria Park and then it will move onto the Burswood peninsula and up and around the Crown casino. Crown will keep the parking, but the parking area next to the old superdome is actually owned by the Town of Victoria Park. I do not know how that will be managed. Then, South Perth and Victoria Park will keep a bit of high-rise there at the back of the casino and then go around to Belmont Park…

It will be difficult because, as someone pointed out to me today, if the residents of the City of Victoria Park who live in the high-rise were impacted in any way by the stadium because of louts coming home at night after the footy or the casino, by traffic or whatever, who do they go to? They cannot go to the City of Perth because they are not City of Perth ratepayers. They do not have any representation on the council. It is a difficult issue and one that I will continue to talk to the minister about…

As compensation for losing the $2.8 million in annual rates from Crown casino, the minister has extended the boundary on the southern part of the two existing councils down to Leach Highway; that represents 7 000—as the minister calls them—rooftops. Some are commercial, but they are mostly houses. They have been excised out of the old City of Canning and they will come into the new council…

They have to do the cost–benefit analysis. They will put their report in to the Local Government Advisory Board by 4 October. I have to say one thing about this: I have not had anyone knocking on my door saying, “Oh gee, isn’t it great, we’re going to amalgamate.” I think the people of South Perth do not care whether they amalgamate or not. They are very happy where they are. They like where they live; the suburb is pretty good. I do not think they are in the mood for a change. The only thing they do say to me when I ask them about it is that it is their belief that the river should be the natural boundary. That is why we are South Perth and the City of Perth is the City of Perth. They say the natural boundary should be the river. I think that will be the argument they put to the advisory board when the two councils make their submission, but the minister has a tough job. I want to commend him. At least he is prepared to talk to the councils but—pardon the pun—there is still a lot of water to flow under the bridge on this matter. All I will say, and I have always said this from the outset, is that I will support my voters to get the best outcome. Hopefully, through the process we can come up with the desired outcome for both councils.