State slow to pay out for amalgamation ideas
A parliamentary committee has heard Perth councils were pretty severely short-changed by the WA state government’s push for metro council amalgamations.
A hearing heard this week that only about a third of the $1.8 million, set aside to help the 30 councils being forced down to 15, was actually handed out.
Councils were initially offered grants of $200,000 for proposals conforming to the Government’s new boundary plan. Just two councils - the Shire of Mundaring and the City of Bayswater – got the full amounts, while Belmont and Kalamunda only got $100,000 as they could not agree on a joint proposal.
That leaves $1.2 million unallocated, according to acting director-general of the Department of Local Government and Communities, Jennifer Mathews.
The WA Local Government Advisory Board will soon call for public submissions to its inquiry on the best way to halve the number of shires in Perth. The inquiry itself, however, will not hold open hearings.
Meanwhile, the Shire of Roebourne has voted to change its name to the Karratha City Council.
The decision has angered many Roebourne residents, who feel their suburb’s name has been change to bury its old reputation.
Roebourne resident Josephine Samson also said it was a move against the history of the former Aboriginal settlement.
“This place is growing because of our minerals and deposits on our land and yet they don't recognise us as well.
“There's no Indigenous person sitting up there on council as a local Aboriginal person from here from within the Ngarluma country.
“They’ve given us a bad name and yet they don't personally know us.”
Shire President, Peter Long, said that was far from the reality of the situation.
“We're not taking away any of the history of Roebourne,” Mr Long said.
“Roebourne will stay exactly as it is, and in fact, I think it will be a benefit for Roebourne because there will be more money available for Roebourne to do a whole range of projects.”
“I've travelled over the east a lot and people there have never heard of Roebourne but everyone's heard of Karratha.
“We want to use that knowledge of Karratha and promote that for people to invest in,” he said.
“Three quarters of the population lives in Karratha anyway.”