The Barnett Government’s deeply unpopular forced amalgamation regime suffered another blow this week, with the Belmont Council voting unanimously to poll residents on the proposed amalgamation with the Shire of Kalamunda.

In the face of fierce community objection to the amalgamation of the City of Belmont and the Shire of Kalamunda, the Belmont Council agreed to hold a poll of residents in 2014 to confirm what is widely expected to be an overwhelming ‘no’ vote.

The Belmont Council’s decision is yet another sign of deepening dissent across metropolitan Perth towards the Barnett Government’s forced amalgamation agenda. Communities are trying new measures to stand up to the State Government, which continues to force its deeply unpopular reforms on anxious communities against their will.

Belmont Community Group President Cassie Rowe was pleased with the Council’s decision, having argued consistently for the right of residents to a vote on amalgamations through the ‘Keep Belmont in Belmont’ campaign; “This decision reflects the will of our community to be involved in the biggest issue affecting the Council in its history”, said Ms Rowe, “people want the chance to exercise their democratic rights and the Council’s decision gives them that chance”.

The Belmont Community Group previously collected close to a thousand petition signatures calling on the Council to actively oppose the amalgamation and give residents the right to vote. Ms Rowe said the biggest objections from the community related to rate rises that would potentially result from an amalgamation with Kalamunda, and the loss of Belmont’s unique community identity. “The Belmont community is close knit and residents are proud of their City” said Ms Rowe, “no one wants to see our community swallowed up by a larger Council and our distinct community character and personality lost”.

“The case for forced amalgamations has not been made” said Ms Rowe, “there has been no cost benefit analysis undertaken and no business case made to the people. The arrogance shown by Premier Barnett and his Government on this issue will have serious repercussions for the Government.”

Media Contact: Cassie Rowe (BCG PRESIDENT) 0418 200 149

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