By Angela Dorizas
West Australian Local Government Minister John Castrilli today denied claims that the new local government reform transition process has disregarded submissions made by councils.
The WA Local Government Association (WALGA) president Bill Mitchell said the new reform transition process had “little to no regard” for councils’ submissions.
Mr Castrilli said through the submission process, nine local governments advised that they were prepared to merge into three separate new entities. A further 54 local governments indicated that they were amendable to amalgamations.
Councils have also taken part in briefing sessions to consider regional transition and regional collaboration groups, Mr Castrilli added.
“Claims by WALGA that the Minister is ‘assigning councils to various groupings without an opportunity to explore alternatives, then the voluntary nature of the process is compromised’, are also misleading,” Mr Castrilli told Government News.
“Engagement in the reform options proposed is clearly a matter of choice.
“If any local government does not want to participate either in a merger, a Regional Transition Group (RTG) or Regional Collaborative Group (RCG) they can choose to do so.”
Local governments who wish to proceed with reform will receive State Government funding to assist in the development of a regional business plan, Mr Castrilli added.
Details of the model agreement, which includes clauses on withdrawal from a RTG or RCG, will be provided to each council and shire from January 25.
“I will be addressing the WA local governments at the WALGA State-wide Reform Forum and I look forward to building cooperative relationships with the new leadership group of WALGA,” Mr Castrilli said.
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