The Local Government Advisory Board has rejected a petition asking it to consider creating a new Shire of Augusta by dividing the existing Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.
Board chairman Charlie Gregorini has advised Local Government Minister Paul Omodei that the board had rejected the petition because of doubts about the validity of the way it had been gathered and presented.
There were more than enough valid signatures, but it appeared that sheets signed by petitioners had not been accompanied by a sheet setting out the proposal as required by regulations.
The board had therefore made what it described as the “difficult decision” to reject the petition as invalid.
Mr Omodei said there were two ways to overcome what was essentially an administrative problem.
One was for the organisers to go through the whole process again while the other was for him as the Minister to put the proposal to the board.
Mr Omodei said he was prepared to convert the proposal into a ministerial proposal, but believed it would not be appropriate for him to do so while the Government was in caretaker mode.
“I will wait until after the election on February 10 and then, subject of course to the outcome, I will forward the proposal to the board,” Mr Omodei said.
“Whether the proposal comes from the petitioners or the Minister will not affect the board’s deliberations.
“The board will still go through the process of receiving submissions and holding public meetings to evaluate the level of support and the merits of the proposal as it affects both the proposed new shire and the existing shire.
“The Augusta community has clearly shown sufficient interest in the proposal to warrant me, as Minister, taking it to the board instead of forcing the community to go through the process again.”
Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700