Julie Matheson

CFP Business Specialist | Local Government Expert | Community Advocate

Amalgamation 2009

Back in 2009, Chris Thomson of WAtoday.com.au asked Perth’s metropolitan mayors to discuss their thoughts on council amalgamation.  Some of the results are surprising given the current political environment and the release of the Robson Report.

Here’s what Mayors had to say back in 2009:

Only six of  metropolitan Perth’s 29 mayors say they will consider merging with neighbouring  councils when the Barnett Government forces them to nominate efficiency measures  later this year.

Local  Government Minister John Castrilli has set an August 31 deadline for WA’s 139  councils to decide if they want to merge, take land from their neighbours, or  otherwise become lean and mean.

On Monday,  WAtoday.com.au revealed how sparsely  populated shires in WA’s Wheatbelt and Midwest regions were charging up to 10  times more rates per person than their city cousins.

Now, a straw  poll of metropolitan mayors and shire presidents reveals 16 oppose mergers, six  support, and two are undecided.

Three months out from Mr Castrilli’s deadline, Perth region mayors vote ‘YES’, ‘NO’ or  ‘MAYBE’ to local council mergers …

Armadale mayor Linton Reynolds – NO

“The good thing about this process is it’s  caused everybody to stop and think.”

. Opposes amalgamations with neighbouring Gosnells and Serpentine-Jarrahdale  on grounds that main financial weakness of all three councils is that their rate  base is too suburban;

. opposes amalgamations with Cockburn or Kwinana, both separated from  Armadale by Kwinana Freeway, as he sees no common community of interest;

. says number of Armadale councillors should be culled from 14, to between  six and nine.

Bassendean mayor Tina Klein – NO

“There’s no need for us to amalgamate with  anyone, because we’re sustainable.”

. Opposes amalgamation;

. prefers ‘squaring off’ boundaries with neighbours along main roads, sharing  regional services, and reducing number of councillors.

Bayswater mayor Lou Magro – YES

“My personal preference would be for  metropolitan councils of 100,000 people or above.”

. Supports council amalgamations so that each Perth council would have no  fewer than 100,000 people;

. supports ‘squaring off’ of council boundaries.

Belmont mayor Glenys Godfrey –  NO

“It’s putting the cart before the horse  because the WA Local Government Association had already entered into a reform  process.”

. opposes amalgamation; . supports greater sharing of services among  eastern suburbs councils.

Cambridge mayor Simon Withers –  NO

“I think there should be a lot of amalgamations  in the Wheatbelt councils. All the urban councils are sustainable for as long as  they want, basically.”

. opposes amalgamation with neighbouring councils;

. supports squaring off the town’s boundaries.

Canning mayor Joe Delle Donne – NIL  RESPONSE

Claremont acting mayor Paul Kelly – MAYBE

“It’s certainly worth considering because there’s  economies of scale and substantial efficiencies that can be gained.”

. open minded toward merging with the City of Nedlands, and instituting an  electoral system where both Claremont and Nedlands would retain ward status;

. says that regardless of outcome, current boundaries need to be squared  up.

Cockburn mayor Logan Howlett – YES

“We see the main way of moving forward as  an amalgamation with a neighbouring local government.”

. supports amalgamation with either City of Fremantle or Town of Kwinana;

. looking at squaring up boundaries;

. supports regional service sharing;

. has reservations about reducing current number of councillors down from  10.

Cottesloe mayor Kevin Morgan – YES

“Peppermint Grove is an integral part of any  merger involving Cottesloe.”

. open-minded to mergers, especially with tiny Peppermint Grove, though  doesn’t expect there would be great financial benefits;

. prefers number of Cottesloe councillors be slashed from current 11 to a  “lean, mean council” of five, but worries about increased councillor  burden;

. supports regional service sharing.

East Fremantle mayor Alan Ferris – NO

“I think that we’ve been a long term (takeover)  target of everyone. We’re a small council, we understand that (but) we don’t  agree with it.”

. opposes amalgamation with neighbouring Fremantle;

. supports  greater service sharing, in finance and human resources services with  neighbouring councils;

. says his  ratepayers should decide whether the town is amalgamated or not.

Fremantle mayor Peter Tagliaferri – YES

. Vigorously  opposes Cockburn mayor Logan Howlett’s mooted merger with smaller Fremantle, but  is a long-term advocate of merging with the even smaller Town of East  Fremantle;

. supports squaring up boundaries;

. supports greater sharing of services, particularly information technology  where he sees potential economies of scale.

Gosnells mayor Olwen Searle – NIL RESPONSE

Joondalup mayor Troy Pickard – NO

“We’re  160,000 people, and if you get any bigger than that you expose yourself to the  potential of losing touch with your community.”

. Opposes amalgamation with Joondalup’s neighbours;

. supports  larger councils such as Joondalup contracting out expertise (such as urban  planning) to smaller councils in remote areas.

Kalamunda shire president Donald McKechnie –  YES

“We could do with a bit more industrial and  (annexing) that Hazelmere area (from the City of Swan) would make us very  sustainable because that’s where the heavy industry is going.”

. Says annexing Hazelmere from City of Swan would broaden Kalamunda’s largely  residential and rural rates base;

. supports slashing current councillor numbers from 12 to 9;

. says amalgamation spotlight should be on smaller country and western Perth  councils, not on larger Kalamunda;

. supports squaring up boundaries.

Kwinana mayor Carol Adams – NIL RESPONSE

Melville mayor Russell Aubrey –  NO

“The reform process, it’s a bit confusing  for us all without a firm idea of what the minister is hoping to  achieve.”

. Opposes amalgamations, because he sees his city’s size of 100,000 as  optimum;

. supports squaring up boundaries;

. says current number of 13 councillors is fine.

Mosman Park mayor Ron Norris – MAYBE

“Divide and conquer is the only intelligent strategy I can attribute to the manner in  which the minister is conducting this matter.”

. If residents  of North Fremantle came to him, and wanted to move from City of Fremantle to  Mosman Park he’d welcome it;

. likewise with  the tiny shire of Peppermint Grove, but he won’t be initiating annexure for fear  of falling into Mr Castrilli’s divide and conquer “trap”.

Mundaring shire president Helen Dullard –  NO

“We are currently looking at why we would  do that and what gains there would be for our communities.”

. Lukewarm on need for mergers with neighbouring councils of Swan, Northam or  Kalamunda, saying she does not want to pre-empt an imminent council decision on  the matter;

. supports boundary ‘tidy ups’

Nedlands mayor Sheryl Froese –  YES

“If (amalgamating with neighbour Claremont)  is done in a good way and brings the community with you, that might be something  that might work.”

. Supports a merger with adjacent Claremont, but not a mooted super western  suburbs council;

. supports  boundary square offs.

Peppermint Grove shire president Brian  Kavanagh – NO

“We’re financially well off, viable, and deliver  services people want and they’re prepared to pay for it, so why would we want to  change?”

. Opposes amalgamations;

. actually wants more councillors – up from current seven to nine to ensure  there’s a quorum at meetings;

. supports squaring of boundaries.

Perth mayor Lisa Scaffidi – NO

“I believe that amalgamation is a question mark of a word.”

. Advocates “redrawing the local government map” to encourage greater  efficiency;

. says there is scope for Perth to extend north into Northbridge and  southwest toward the University of Western Australia to enhance its capital city  role;

. says a recent media report saying Perth wanted to annexe the Burswood  entertainment precinct and residential areas of Northbridge was incorrect.

Rockingham mayor Barry Sammels – NO

“Our  boundaries are pretty well defined.”

. Opposes Cockburn’s amalgamation overtures, as he believes Kwinana is  already sustainable, and growing all the time;

. opposes any reduction in the town’s current number of 10 councillors;

. says squaring of boundaries is unwarranted, because the current ones work  well.

South Perth mayor James Best – NO

“South Perth is incredibly sustainable.”

. opposes amalgamation with neighbouring councils;

. supports slashing current number of councillors from 13 to 9;

. supports expanding existing service sharing with adjoining Victoria Park to  joint procurement of equipment, employment of back-office staff, and mowing  along the river foreshore.

. supports  squaring up of boundaries.

Stirling mayor David Boothman – NO

“I  don’t know if there would be any sense in amalgamation – we’ve already got  190,000 population.”

. opposes amalgamation;

. opposes squaring of boundaries, given adjustments in recent years when Stirling lost part of Glendalough to Vincent and gained ratepayers and land  from Bayswater.

. opposes  slashing councillors from current 14.

Subiaco mayor Heather Henderson – NO

“In the long term, Subi is a very viable  and sustainable council with such a rich history and we would look to stay as we  are.”

. supports greater resource sharing across western suburbs councils;

. supports  reduction in number of councillors from current 13 to nine.

Swan mayor Charlie Zannino – NIL RESPONSE

Victoria Park mayor Trevor Vaughan – NO

“We’re not interested in amalgamating with  anybody.”

. Opposes  amalgamations on grounds Victoria Park is already sustainable;

. has engaged a  consultant with Belmont and South Perth to examine service sharing arrangements  with neighbouring councils.

Vincent mayor Nick Catania – NO

“We’ve  got to take over some territory rather than merge with anyone.”

. Opposes  amalgamation on grounds Vincent is already sustainable;

. supports a  takeover of areas in adjacent councils to make Vincent more sustainable, but  will not reveal which councils are on his hitlist;

. slams as  “cherry picking” the City of Perth’s reported wish (subsequently denied by Lord  Mayor Lisa Scaffidi) to annexe parts of Northbridge and Burswood.

Wanneroo mayor Jon Kelly – NIL RESPONSE

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/will-your-town-lay-down-and-die-20090527-bn3b.html#ixzz2AOfL9OmQ

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This entry was posted on October 26, 2012 by in History and tagged , , .
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