Greens WA South Metropolitan MLC Lynn MacLaren joined spokesperson on Local Government, Robin Chapple MLC today in expressing concern over the shambolic process surrounding the leaking of the Barnett government’s push for metropolitan council amalgamation.
“Forced amalgamations are yet another grab for power and control at the expense of community participation and local decision making,” said planning spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC.
“There is very little excitement for the proposal among communities in the South Metropolitan Region, with some strongly opposed,” she said.
“In recent days, the fiasco that is this government’s approach to council amalgamation has been laid bare for all to see,” Robin Chapple MLC said.
“The Greens have always maintained that the local grassroots communities should be the drivers of policy in relation to council amalgamation.
“Yet what has been dished up under successive local government ministers in the Barnett/Grylls government has been a series of take-it-or-leave-it edicts”, said Mr Chapple.
Ms MacLaren continued, “I think people are coming around to thinking that some boundaries could be changed to good effect. Especially if they are based on strategic activity centres. But the Councils own proposals have been mostly dismissed.
“For instance, Fremantle, East Fremantle and Cockburn have shared communities of interest. Instead, the Premier’s merger between Fremantle and Melville is likely to dilute identities and create governance hassles.
“Kwinana has grown into a city with a character all its own. It has been very successful in attracting investment and developing new infrastructure. Under the new plan, it would merge with Cockburn, a community with its own rich history and sense of place including new developments at Cockburn Central and the Cockburn Coast.
“I will continue to consult with communities throughout the South Metropolitan Region as details of the plan emerge.
“How will people in City of Canning engage in this process, with their Council currently suspended?
“The Greens oppose forced amalgamations, though we can see sustainability benefits when Councils develop cost-effective regional collaboration. Ironically, it is the Class 1 rated (most sustainable) Councils which are being swallowed up by larger neighbours.”