WA councils on the chopping block

Last week Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett announced his government would push ahead with the amalgamation of local councils.

Under a revised plan half of Perth's councils will disappear. Others will have their boundaries changed. And some councils have warned that rates will be affected by the changes.

Perth Mayor Lisa Scaffidi has warned that the WA Government's process will not deliver benefits to local communities.

Mayor Scaffidi said in a recent media story: "the Government has a clear lack of understanding of fundamental local government issues and clear priorities such as the strategic outlook for the capital city."

WA's Local Government Minister Tony Simpson has talked about the changes as creating 'stronger' councils with better economies of scale, but similar changes in other states have done little more than reduce the community's representation and failed to make significant financial savings.

The Barnett Government's amalgamations plan will now be submitted to the independent Local Government Advisory Board for review, with a final decision expected mid-next year.

All this is happening as the Independent Review of Local Government in NSW puts it final recommendations to Cabinet for consideration.

An announcement about the future of local government in NSW could be made before the end of the year.

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