The Nationals WA have rejected Corruption and Crime Commission head John McKechnie’s blanket criticism of regional local governments, saying it will make it harder to attract good quality candidates as councillors and staff.
Ms Davies said she was disappointed Mr McKechnie publicly tarred all regional WA councils with a brush of mismanagement and incompetence.
“Regional councils already face enormous challenges due to the tyranny of distance. We need to attract good people to serve in local government and reckless comments from the leader of a powerful organisation such as the CCC only serve as a disincentive to get involved.
“Within any sector there will always be individuals who do the wrong thing, but there are countless examples across the State of competent councils doing the right thing by their ratepayers.”
Ms Davies said the Department of Local Government and wider sector had for too long been distracted by an amalgamation agenda and needed to get back to the core business of service delivery.
“The Nationals when in Government did not support the forced amalgamation of local councils and we are encouraged by remarks from the Premier ruling this out under the new Government’s agenda,” Ms Davies said.
“The Nationals WA remain opposed to forced amalgamations and will continue to fight for support and funding for local governments to effectively carry out their role for ratepayers.
“A strong local government sector is beneficial for all regional Western Australians.”
The Nationals WA spokesperson for local government Shane Love said Royalties for Regions had provided funding for regional councils to undertake training in financial and asset management, planning practices and other skills vital to delivering sound governance.
“I call on the Premier to maintain this capacity building program and not include it in Labor’s sweeping funding cuts to regional WA,” Mr Love said.