Mergers face legal mire

Stirling city councillor Terry Tyzack wants to mount a supreme court challenge to the Barnett government’s latest amalgamation plans.

He describes the decision to carve 30,000 Dianella and Inglewood residents out of Stirling and into neighbouring councils as a “disaster” that will cost Stirling $20 million.

The 20-year council veteran, a former mayor, believes WA local government minister Tony Simpson has exercised his powers inappropriately, and that would form the basis of any challenge.

“There’s a local government act and an advisory board with procedures to go through this process,” Cr Tyzack says.

“Normally something like this goes to the advisory board to provide direction, but in this case the government came out with a blueprint and asked local government to comment generally but not to change it too much.”

He claims the advisory board has been stacked and the minister has shown favouritism to councils in his own electorate (The Ed says: The Chook took a gander at the proposed maps and found most of Mr Simpson’s local council, Serpentine/Jarrahdale, disappearing into the Shire of Murray).

Cr Tyzack says the exodus will mean higher rates for everyone, from those being shunted to higher-rates charging Morley and the western suburbs and those left behind who’ll have to make up a $20m rates shortfall.

“If we are going to lose $20 million a year it’s worth spending some ratepayers’ money to check that it’s been worth it,” Cr Tyzack says.

New Stirling mayor Giovanni Italiano also took a swing at Mr Simpson, saying he’d promised him personally that he’d review Stirling’s boundaries but hasn’t budged.

“He has completely ignored me and I am bitterly disappointed in the minister and in this whole process to be frank—it’s a bloody joke.” Mayor Italiano says the gloves are off and Stirling will now review all its capital projects, vaguely threatening to pull the pin on the long-awaited Scarborough Beach redevelopment by saying its finances would now have to be “seriously” looked at.

He also flagged teaming up with Perth city council, which only wants neighbouring Vincent’s commercial sector.

Stirling believes carving the tiny city in two, with its suburbs going to Stirling—as per original boundary reform plans—may be some compensation for losing Dianella and Inglewood. Under the revised boundaries Mt Lawley stays in Stirling.

by STEVE GRANT

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