Shadoow local government minister Peter Primrose yesterday welcomed a parliamentary inquiry into the Liberals’ ‘Fit for the Future’ program for the state’s councils, which he described as ‘controversial’.
The upper house inquiry comes after a months-long Labor campaign against forced council amalgamations.
The inquiry will examine the criteria used by the government to assess amalgamation proposals, in particular the scale and capacity criterion – as well as the impact of forced amalgamations on council finances, staff and communities.
‘This controversial process must be scrutinised – I welcome the Parliamentary inquiry into ‘Fit for the Future’,’ Mr Primrose said.
‘The Baird government can no longer ignore the concerns of councils and local residents when it comes to amalgamations.
‘The Liberal government will have to finally listen to the community and address legitimate questions about the fairness of this process.
‘Many councils have objected to the timeline, criteria and methodology imposed by IPART and the government.
‘The Liberal government said it would not force councils to amalgamate – yet this week we see councils vote to merge because staying independent is not an option.
‘This inquiry should shed some light on concerns raised by people of all political stripes.’