Checklists in, but no answer on amalgamations

By Angela Dorizas

West Australian councils are a step closer to local government reform after lodging their checklists with the State Government.

Councils were required to submit a checklist to the Department of Local Government providing information on their strategic, business and financial management plan, along with capital reserves, income streams and debt levels.

Minister for Local Government John Castrilli said there was a strong response from councils across the state.

“The collated information will assist local governments in the next phase of the reform process, in which they actually sit down with each other and examine how they can collectively enhance their capacity to service their local communities,” Castrilli said.

The West Australian newspaper reported that the state’s 139 councils had “overwhelmingly rejected amalgamation in favour of continuing to share resources”.

That prediction was rejected by the Western Australian Local Government Association president and Local Government Reform Steering Committee member, Cr Bill Mitchell, as “fairly anecdotal”.

“There’s no firm information to say one way or the other,” Cr Mitchell told GovernmentNews.

He said the Steering Committee would not know what shape the reform would take until August.

He added that 24 councils had not submitted their checklists by close of business Friday.

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