Nationals join council merger war

The WA Nationals have resurrected an historic bid to give regional councils the power to set up joint subsidiaries in an attempt to avoid forced amalgamations.

Nationals WA leader Terry Redman said regional councils watching the metropolitan amalgamation process were uneasy about their own future.

"There is a growing level of concern from regional local governments that this issue is the thin edge of the wedge for what might be a reform process that extends to local governments against their will," he said.

A private member's Bill introduced by Nationals MLA for Moore Shane Love yesterday would mean two or more councils could set up a regional subsidiary that would allow close collaboration without amalgamation.

A similar Bill was introduced by then local government minister John Castrilli two years ago.

Mr Redman said the Bill offered the "legislative capacity for shires to work together in a very formal sense".

WA Local Government Association president Troy Pickard said the lobby group had long campaigned for the regional subsidiaries model.

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson has given in- principle support to the Bill.

The West Australian

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