Well D-Day has arrived for Local Government (LG) in metropolitan Perth and for many there are few surprises in the proposed boundaries. It looks to me like the Premier has been very mindful of the impending party politicisation of LG in the boundaries he has chosen, to ensure the best Council representation for his side of politics. With the greatest respect I do not believe Tony Simpson has had any influence in this other than being the nice guy who had to bring the bad news to the LG sector.
At the end of the day it beggars belief that the boundaries proposed by a very large section of the LG industry some months ago have been ignored, effectively turning around any chance of support from the major stakeholders, the LG industry. Political expediency or arrogance?
So we not only have boundaries that the LG sector do not generally support it will also be up to councils to initiate mergers with their neighbours to maintain the myth this is not forced amalgamation. The Premier has even given the deadline for ‘voluntary’ amalgamations of 4th October this year, less than 10 weeks away, then they will be forced. The industry anticipated fiscal inducements to amalgamate, not a threat of a firing-squad in 10 weeks if we do not do as commanded. Just to make sure democracy is completely stifled the Poll Provisions of the LG Act will be suspended to stop the community from making their objections heard.
Metropolitan Local Governments will now consider their options and I cannot second guess what the outcome of those considerations will be, what I can predict is a broad based lack of enthusiasm for what was announced this morning.
I am very disappointed that after 6 years of working towards LG reform in good faith, it has come to this. Time to unfurl the Southern Cross.