By Staff Writer
Four shires in Western Australia have responded to the State Government’s call for voluntary amalgamations by agreeing to form one new local government.
In February, Local Government Minister John Castrilli asked the state’s 139 councils to voluntarily amalgamate and to reduce the total number of elected members of each council to between six and nine.
The shires of Mingenew, Three Springs, Morawa and Perenjori have informed the Minister that they will amalgamate.
Castrilli congratulated the Mid-West shires for taking “a very positive step in securing the long term future of these communities”.
“The planned reform is about building sustainable local governments,” he said.
“The State Government is moving forward to a new future for Western Australian local governments and I am pleased these fours shires have led the way and embraced this opportunity.”
He said the reform would lift the local government sector to a “new strategic level” and attract greater investment from the private sector, along with State and Federal funding.
WA councils have until September 30 to lodge their submissions on local government reform.
Castrilli given greater powers
The Minister also announced today that State Government has passed more than 40 amendments to local government legislation.
The Local Government Amendment Bill will give the Minister and departments of Local Government and Regional Development greater powers to obtain information from local authorities when conducting investigations.
Castrilli said the bill would ensure effective, efficient and accountable local governments and improve provisions relating to declaring financial interests and election donations.
“The Bill will require council members to disclose the actual value of gifts and travel benefits in their annual return,” Castrilli said.
“Gifts valued at more than $200 are to be disclosed with details including source, description, date received and value.”
He said regulations will be developed to implement the changes, which he anticipates will come into effect towards the end of 2009.
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