WA amalgamation cost comes under attack

By Staff Writer

The cost of amalgamating West Australia’s councils has come under attack in the State Parliament.

The Opposition spokesman for local government, Paul Papalia, rejected claims by Minister for Local Government John Castrilli that the move to amalgamate councils – which has cost the state $1 million so far – was worth it in the long run.

"How can you claim there's going to [be] benefit from a process when you don't know how much it costs?" Mr Papalia said.

"I mean you don't even know whether the costs outweigh the benefits. You haven't done that analysis."

One of the nine WA councils which agreed to the reform process, the Shire of Chapman Valley, pulled out earlier this week after it initially entered an agreement to amalgamate with the Shire of Mullewa and City of Geraldton Greenough by 2011.

Mr Papalia said the cost will be even greater when the councils' expenses are revealed.

"The councils, who've had to engage consultants, at costs of tens of thousands of dollars for each council, would have spent millions of dollars across the state on a process that has been flawed, secret and confrontational from the start," he said.


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