Premier’s pain short-lived

POLITICS lecturer Martin Drum says abandoning council mergers will mean short-term pain for premier Colin Barnett but predicts it’ll be a faint memory come election day, despite the millions of dollars that have been squandered.

“This is going to cost the premier short-term embarrassment in walking away from these reforms, but it’ll save him a lot of long-term pain,” the Notre Dame lecturer predicts.

“If this was a live issue at the next election, the knives would be out.”

But any dip in the polls for the premier will be tough to spot with the West Australian newspaper’s Westpoll having quietly disappeared. Newspoll is done quarterly and there are sporadic Morgan polls.

“We’re getting very little feedback,” Dr Drum says.

Meanwhile, Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt has conceded there’s little chance of the port city now getting hold of Palmyra, Bicton, Hamilton Hill or North Coogee.

Immediately after East Fremantle’s merger referendum killed amalgamation with Freo, he’d indicated the council might still pursue the border extensions separately.

“But judging from the premier’s white flag comments it would be fair to say this is unlikely to happen which is disappointing given all the hard work that has gone into the reform process,” he said.

He fears Fremantle will now be “vulnerable to a much less sensible amalgamation” that could be forced on it into the future.


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