The Nationals WA have once again voiced their opposition in Parliament to forced local government reform, after the City of Perth Bill 2015 came before the Legislative Council this week.
The Bill, which seeks to forcefully expand the City of Perth boundary, is the product of the State Government’s flawed local government reform process spanning several years.
Nationals Member for the Agricultural Region Hon Martin Aldridge MLC led the charge, taking both the Liberal and Labor parties to task over the legislation.
“Some have argued that this bill is metropolitan focused and we should not be bothered with it as we do not represent metropolitan electorates,” Mr Aldridge said.
“Our opposition to this Bill comes from the dangerous precedent it sets for potential future forced boundary changes in regional WA.”
Mr Aldridge reiterated The Nationals’ stance, saying their opposition does not extend to voluntary reform processes or local government collaboration.
“The National Party is not opposed to local government reform, provided they are of a voluntary nature” Mr Aldridge said.
“In fact, we have introduced a reform bill in the lower house supporting regional subsidiaries, in which two or more local governments can act as a single entity for some purposes.
“If two or more local governments want to adjust their boundaries, there is a proper process using the Local Government Advisory Board which ensures adequate consultation is undertaken.”
Mr Aldridge attacked the major parties accusing them of misleading voters by suggesting they are opposed to the forced reform of Local Government in Western Australia.
“Liberal and Labor MPs, including those representing regional electorates, have now voted in favour of forced local government reform,” he said.
“It is now clear that only The Nationals understand the importance of regional Local Government and are prepared to defend this important tier of Government in the State’s Parliament.”