Federal flip-side

COLIN NICHOL resolves the amalgamation conundrum—possibly.

HERE’S another angle on the metropolitan council boundaries discourse. It should not be longer than a couple of months now before the official state government decision is known, whether it be to leave amalgamations to councils themselves or for changes be imposed. One option seems not to have gained attention.

Until now, there have been as many suggestions from councils as there are councils and none has been averse to seeking some advantage in any shake-up. Fremantle has its eyes, in addition to nearby territories, on Rottnest. After all, frequent visits there by council representatives would not be too tiresome an overseas duty and a relaxing change from more rigorous international travel.

Regional councils, smaller ones—which is better: 30 reduced to 12 or possibly 15—or perhaps 16 might be a good number, or else a nice round 20?

Which takes what and who ends up top dog, the options and alternatives swirl and round and round it goes; what will transpire nobody knows. Or those who do are keeping anxious town halls caught between uncertainty and conformity.

New ingredient

Councils have been agonising under such painful contractions as G4, G20, G19, G7 and G will-it-never-end, while there is an option not yet explored and so obvious as to be overlooked; a division of the metropolitan area already in place. Presenting—G9! A new ingredient added to the bubbling brew of speculation should freshen the conversation.

Is this a serious proposal? Hardly less so that others bouncing around and anyway, this insight requires hardly more adjustment than the rest and offers a basic template for which infrastructure is already in place.

Why not use the federal electoral boundaries as a basis for councils’ fiefdoms? That would see councils for divisions of Fremantle, Moore, Cowan, Stirling, Perth, Curtin, Swan, Hasluck and Tangney.

At 201sqkm, Fremantle would get a whopping slice from North Fremantle to Henderson and a good way east to Jandakot airport as well as part of Bicton and its population would enlarge some eight-fold. And the bar at the Quokka Arms? Automatically as much a part of Fremantle as is that at the Sail and Anchor. Of course, some adjustments and probably an addition of a few more administrative areas may need to be created, but the foundation is there, thanks to Canberra’s divisions. But don’t draw them into it, that’s all we need.

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