Home' API Magazine : January 2014 Contents 94
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JANUARY 2014 API
It’s the catfight between councils that’s
shaping up to be a battle of the borders.
For investors, it could mean easier
development application approvals in
some cases, but being forced to pay
higher rates in others.
It all depends on your luck and where
your property lands on the mega council
The West Australian Government is set
to more than halve the number of Perth
councils by mid-2015. It will dissolve
many of the tiny municipalities that have
long prided themselves on their tight-
knit communities, instead creating nine
South Perth and Victoria Park will
merge, along with Cockburn and
Kwinana, Melville with Fremantle
and East Fremantle, Armadale and
Serpentine/Jarrahdale, Bayswater and
Bassendean, Swan and Mundaring,
Canning and Gosnells, and Belmont
The biggest change will be one massive
council in the west, which will merge
seven existing councils, Nedlands and
Subiaco with the towns of Cambridge,
Claremont, Cottesloe, Mosman Park and
Peppermint Grove plus North Fremantle,
Wembley Downs and Churchlands.
The City of Vincent will be abolished as
the City of Perth and City of Stirling both
expand their borders, while Wanneroo,
Joondalup and Rockingham will
Like it or not, it seems the new proposed
boundary lines, announced by Premier
Colin Barnett, will be set in stone, because
the public won’t have the power to veto
any council mergers or boundary changes
via a referendum.
Barnett says the councils will have a
population of around 100,000 people each
and it’s all about creating stronger and
more efficient local governments.
“We need local governments with
the scale and capacity to deal with
these challenges (of a rapidly growing
city). Council reform will deliver a
more strategic, coordinated approach
across the metropolitan area for issues
like planning, road networks, waste
management, the Swan River, recreation,
housing and health,” Barnett says.
“It’s difficult to deliver that coordinated
approach to these issues when,
for example, there are seven local
government areas between Crawley
and Fremantle, 17 along the Swan River
foreshore and 11 along the coast.”
So how will the council mergers impact
investors and small developers? Let’s take
a closer look.
¿ EASIER DEVELOPMENT
By more than halving the number of
councils, the Property Council of Australia
Western Australia executive director Joe
Lenzo says red tape and development
delays will be reduced.
It’s a win for investors, he says, because
zoning schemes and planning rules will
become more streamlined.
“The property council has been
advocating the government for some time
that one of the big drawbacks is that we
have 30 councils in one metro area.
“It was a real issue, in the sense that
a lot of property investment was being
hampered by inconsistent rules and
regulations. We should decrease the
number of councils, so we might get a
bit of consistency and also give councils
the facilities they need to act in a
The larger councils with the bigger
rate bases are expected to be better
resourced, Lenzo says, and will therefore
respond faster when it comes to
“We have the chance to tailor-make
some of the rules and regulations that
fit the more inner-city high density
“We see the changes as generally
positive. We had too many councils in WA
and too many of them were too small to
give a proper service.”
The merger of seven existing councils in
the west will benefit investors that opt for
blue-chip areas, he adds.
“A lot of those councils were elected
members with single issue members.
Because they were small, they stifled
those developments. They had to react to
a small group of ratepayers who were anti-
development of any kind. Strip that away
and make it all one and all of a sudden
you have a much larger catchment and a
very small minority group won’t be able to
thwart the process.
MERGING MEGA COUNCILS
More than halving the number of Perth councils could make processing development applications
easier but also increase rates.
Scarborough will be amalgamated under the plan
THE STATES // WA
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