Premier pushes on with Perth merger

COLIN BARNETT will plough ahead with a City of Perth Act to force the merger of Vincent and Perth, announcing his government has already started drafting a Bill.

The WA local government advisory board’s recommendation for an equal amalgamation between the two councils was rejected by the Barnett government, and the premier now plans to stitch them together via legislation.

If the LGAB’s recommendation had been adopted residents would have been allowed a vote that had the potential to stop the merger, under the Dadour poll provision.

There is no such provision under a legislative merger.

Vincent mayor John Carey is pushing for the premier to include a referendum clause in the City of Perth Act, to ensure locals have the final say, not politicians.

He also remains concerned the premier hasn’t ruled out a gerrymander to give Perth residents more voting power than Vincent residents in the merged city.

But the Bill is no sure thing in the upper house with Nationals MPs increasingly agitated about the drawn-out and controversial mergers process. If enough Nationals MLCs join Labor and the Greens they could knock it on the head.

Former Vincent councillor Ian Ker points out “nearly four out of five of those who voted in October 2013 did not want Vincent to be abolished”.

He says Vincent council’s original proposal supporting a merger “was only made in an attempt to avoid the worst aspects of proposals from the minister and the City of Perth”.

by DAVID BELL

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