Collie Council says no to merger

29 Sep, 2009 09:16 AM
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COLLIE Shire Council will not support a merger with other shires unless it can be proven that it would benefit the community.

This was decided at last week's council meeting, with councillors voting unanimously not to amalgamate.

In February Local Government Minister John Castrilli first asked councils to look at local government reform.

Collie’s submission and recommendations will be sent to Mr Castrilli before the September 30 deadline.

The council will also inform Mr Castrilli that it will keep its current 11 councillors. But it will would look further at boundary adjustment and sharing resources with other shires to improve ratepayer value.

Collie council will also recommend that the shire be viewed in context with the Bunbury-Wellington group of councils, including the shires of Harvey, Dardanup, Donnybrook-Balingup, Capel and Bunbury, if it was forced to amalgamate.

The council got a $10,000 grant to assist in the reform process and to do a community survey.

After Tuesday night’s meeting, Collie Shire president Wayne Sanford said that the council had done as required and investigated the issue.

“We have been through a public consultation process and talked to our neighbours,” he said.

“The community has shown its support and gone to the meetings and so have reinforced our view.

“The whole idea is to improve sustainability, so we need to see some benefits.

“Collie is unique – we are a mining, power generation and resource town with 80 per cent state forrest and a water catchment. Our closest community would be Boddington (in community type), but geographically it doesn’t make sense.

“But since the initial workshops our position has not changed.”

Mr Castrilli said reform would deliver a number of strategic benefits to local councils and their communities.

“There has been widespread public discussion about driving reform in local government with focus on cost savings, not strategic benefit,” he said.

“Reform will create better efficiency, improved services and delivery and more sustainable finances. It will build a sector that has the capacity to plan and act regionally with the State and Federal governments.”

Local councils have consulted their communities and considered ways in which they can voluntarily amalgamate to reduce the total number of elected members to between six and nine and form appropriate regional groupings of councils, he said.

He will review the reform submissions through the Local Government Reform Steering Committee.

The steering committee will provide him with an interim report by mid-October and a consolidated report towards the end of the year.

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