reported back in October, that the Western Australian State
Government is to make major reforms to the number of local
governments in metropolitan Perth. The reforms were subject to a
legal challenge in the Supreme Court, which was heard on 25
The applicants, being the City of Subiaco, City of South Perth
and the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale (Councils)
challenged the process by which the Minister and the Local
Government Advisory Board sought to implement the amalgamations.
The Councils also sought an injunction, which would have prevented
the State Government from continuing with its reforms.
The application was dismissed by His Honour Chief Justice Wayne
Martin. His Honour found no evidence that the reform process,
undertaken by the Minister for Local Government and the Local
Government Advisory Board (LGAB), was conducted
The basis of the Councils' challenge focused on an
allegation that there had been a denial of procedural fairness to
the Councils during the reform process. His Honour disagreed with
the Councils' position noting it was impossible to draw the
inference asserted by the Councils.
As a result of His Honour's findings, the application
Where to from here
The decision allows the State Government to continue with
progressing the reform process, however the legislative changes
associated with the reforms must still be passed by parliament. The
State Government has commented that it will introduce legislation
into Parliament in 2014, paving the way for the reform process to
occur in 2015.
A second period of reform will occur either in 2015 or 2016.
This will see the State Government introduce legislation to allow
for the City of Perth to amalgamate with the City of Vincent
together with recommended boundary changes to the City of Subiaco
and perhaps, the City of South Park under a City of Perth Act. It
is envisaged that the City of Perth Act will give the city special
powers as a capital city and incorporate a number of the
State's key assets within its boundaries. A number of western
suburbs councils, which currently have some of these assets within
their boundaries, will also merge as one.
Because of the high costs, royal commissions should only be convened to address issues of substantial public importance.
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