Western Australia Minister for Local Government John Castrilli
New Local Government Mergers Securing Viable Communities
Victor P Taffa
Local Government Minister John Castrilli today announced 65 local governments had responded positively to the State Government’s local government reform process.
Mr. Castrilli said of the local governments supportive of reform, 60 were from non-metropolitan areas, representing 62 % of the total non-metropolitan population of Western Australia.
“Importantly there are 22 local governments, including a number of regional and sub- regional centres, which support reform, however, are blocked from doing so due to a lack of support from neighbouring local governments.” the Minister said.
“The Western Australian Local Government Association and the Department of Local Government will be working proactively with those local governments that have not been able to gain support for reform.” Mr. Castrilli said.
The Minister said five local governments within the South-East Avon region of the Wheatbelt have agreed to form a Regional Transition Group to fully investigate amalgamation opportunities.
The group, consisting of Beverley, Cunderdin, Quairading, Tammin, and York, is the biggest of the four groups of 11 local governments that have agreed to prepare regional business plans with a view to amalgamation in 2013.
“Other local governments taking this step are Esperance and Ravensthorpe in the Goldfields-Esperance region; Brookton and Pingelly in the Wheatbelt; and Claremont and Cottesloe in the Metropolitan area.” Mr. Castrilli said.
“This is in addition to the 10 local governments which have already decided to merge into four entities between 2011 and 2013.” Mr. Castrilli said.
The Minister said 16 local governments resolved to form Regional Collaborative Groups to explore the benefits of an extended shared service agreement.
“The State will experience unprecedented regional collaboration, as the local governments within the Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne and parts of the Eastern Goldfields embrace the Regional Collaborative Group model.” the Minister said.
“These local governments will now work in their respective regions to prepare long- term strategic plans, determine regional priorities and seek regional partnerships along with other benefits on behalf of their communities.
“The decision is a very positive step in securing the long-term future of these communities.” Mr. Castrilli said.
Six other local governments that were invited to form Regional Transition Groups have requested approval to form Regional Collaborative Groups.
“Local governments that have agreed to undertake reform will receive financial support from the State Government.” Mr. Castrilli said.
“Funding would be provided through the Country Local Government Fund to assist with the preparation of regional business plans.”
“The Department of Local Government will provide additional capacity building and support to local governments undertaking reform, particularly in the areas of strategic planning and asset management.”
“I will be considering the full report and recommendations of the Steering Committee over the coming weeks.” Mr. Castrilli said.