An independent report suggested that carving up Cockburn between Kwinana, Melville and Fremantle will cost the government $100,000.
The report was written by the AEC Group, a Queensland based international economic company.
The study has revealed that the original Cockburn – Kwinana Merge (community proposal) will only cost $24.3 million, at the same time confirming the government’s new merger plan will lead to service disruption and stranded assets.
According to the study, the community’s merger plan will see rates decrease rather than increase.
Cockburn City mayor Logan Howlett reinstated that dividing up Cockburn will add complexity towards town planning and said the new merger plan is un-fair to the community.
What makes this proposal so un-fair is that it affects not only staff with the expertise to run planning and development schemes; but also members of the wider WA community,” Mr Howlett said.
“Splitting up Cockburn creates the complexity of needing to create three new town planning schemes in three very different areas: Fremantle, Melville and Kwinana. Expertise needed for economic growth will be lost if Cockburn is divided.
“Investment will be driven from Cockburn to the cities of Stirling, Rockingham, Joondalup and Wanneroo because if you can’t build in Cockburn, investors will simply go elsewhere.”
The Cockburn Community Steering group spokesman Geoffrey Sach said the community’s proposal is clearly better than the state government’s new plan.
The group urged the state government to read the report in detail and challenged neighboring councils put forward their financial figures for the reform.
“The economic study demonstrates that uniting Cockburn and Kwinana does result in a bigger, stronger city and it provides more benefits to people in both communities than the carve up proposed by the State Government,” Mr Sach said.
“It also shows that Fremantle is more sustainable not less if it does not have to look after suburbs with old assets and growth areas needing new infrastructure currently in Cockburn.”
The group will formally submit the report to the Local Government Advisory Board, they’ll also brief the key findings of the report to Local Government Minister Tony Simpson.
Freo, Melville & Kwinana: Cockburn’s merge cost claim is aburd
After Cockburn released their statement, city councils including Fremantle, Melville, Kwinana together hit back saying the claims are misleading and incorrect.
Kwinana mayor Carol Adams doubted the community steering group’s tactics.
“It’s a nice attempt to further confuse the issue, but when you read into their argument, it’s entirely based on this fictional need for new offices – when no such need exists,” Ms Adams said.
“We’ve reviewed the accommodation requirements of the Minister’s proposal and we can confirm without hesitation, that the Cities of Kwinana, Fremantle and Melville can accommodate all staff and equipment without the need to fund new centers.
Meanwhile Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt believed that Cockburn’s claims are untrue.
“The City of Fremantle has ample accommodation for staff at our existing facilities,” Dr Pettitt said.
“As part of the broader $220m Kings Square development in Fremantle a new council administration building has been earmarked, but this is completely independent of the reform process and fully-funded under our existing structure.”
Fremantle, Kwinana and Melville mayors said they are concerned that the City of Cockburn has used ratepayers money to fund the community steering group.
Local Government Minister Tony Simpson will announce the final merge plan at the end of this year, following the Local Government Advisory Board’s inquiry.