iconSubiaco WA – 22.7˚
High Level Clouds

Local government reform

Governor’s Orders that would have seen the City of Subiaco merge with the Town of Cambridge on 1 July 2015 as part of the State Government's local government structural reform agenda were revoked on 13 March 2015.

This page contains information about:

City of Perth Act - 20 May 2015

The Premier today announced that legislation to expand the City of Perth including the part of the City of Subiaco south of Aberdare Road will be introduced to parliament this week. 

Mayor Heather Henderson said: "Both the Council and our community are extremely concerned about the proposed City of Perth Act. This is a forced boundary adjustment without the promised consultation or the right to a poll. 

"It’s not about institutions or services – our concern is for the residents and their sense of community and belonging, which once lost cannot be regained. These residents have been a strong part of the Subiaco community for more than one hundred years and the results of the recent residents’ survey are resounding – Subiaco is where they want to stay."

Mayor Henderson urged all Members of Parliament to closely scrutinise the legislation.

"There is still no compelling case for the legislation, and the City of Subiaco will be asking for the City of Perth Act to be amended to allow Subiaco to retain its residential parts south of Aberdare Road."  

The city has engaged Catalyse to conduct a random telephone survey of City of Subiaco residents and ratepayers in the area south of Aberdare Road about the proposed boundary change. 

If the legislation is passed by both houses of parliament, it is intended to come into effect from 1 July 2016.  

State government says no forced amalgamation - 17 February 2015

The City of Subiaco has welcomed the announcement that the State Government will abandon the local government structural reform process, and revoke Governor’s Orders that would have seen the City of Subiaco merge with the Town of Cambridge on 1 July.

Mayor Heather Henderson said the news is a win for democracy and the community.

“Council has long maintained its preference for the City of Subiaco to remain an independent and sustainable local government.

“I am relieved the Premier has responded to the three recent polls, and to the communities who have made it clear that they reject forced amalgamations and boundary changes."

“Local governments are in touch with residents and ratepayers on a daily basis, and now we can get back to the business of providing high quality services for our communities,” Mayor Henderson said.

Potential merger with the Town of Cambridge

The City of Subiaco was preparing for a merger with the Town of Cambridge to form the ‘new’ City of Subiaco.

The changes were to take effect on 1 July 2015, as detailed in Governor's Orders published on 24 December 2014.  The 'new' Subiaco would have incorporated the Town of Cambridge, the current City of Subiaco north of Aberdare Road and parts of the cities of Stirling and Nedlands into an enlarged local government.

The State Government intends to introduce legislation to enable an enlarged City of Perth, including the City of Vincent, UWA and QEII Medical Centre and this may include the parts of Nedlands and Crawley south of Aberdare Road. The other western suburbs local governments are proposed to be amalgamated into the ‘City of Riversea’.

The City of Subiaco and Town of Cambridge formed a Local Implementation Committee to guide the merger process, and were working closely to bring the best of both communities together. 

Minister's announcement - 22 October 2014 

On Wednesday 22 October 2014, Local Government Minister Tony Simpson and Premier Colin Barnett announced their response to the Local Government Advisory Board's September 2014 recommendations in relation to 38 proposals for changes to local government districts. 

It is the state government's intention to effect a boundary amendment to the Town of Cambridge which will incorporate the City of Subiaco north of Aberdare Road into an enlarged local government to be called the City of Subiaco. It is also intended that UWA and QEII Medical Centre will be incorporated into an enlarged City of Perth which may include parts of Nedlands and Crawley south of Aberdare Road.

Legal appeal

At a special council meeting on Wednesday 10 December 2014, the council of the City of Subiaco voted to proced with legal action in the Appeal Court intended to maintain Subiaco as an independent and sustainable local government. 

Mayor Heather Henderson said: "The City of Subiaco is an independent and sustainable local government in its own right and the city will do all that it can to maintain this. The council has little choice but to continue the legal action in the absence of the City of Subiaco community being given the opportunity of having a say through a poll.

"The council is gravely concerned that the loss of part of the South Ward is disenfranchising the history and unity of the community and with it the effective representation of residents in the area under the proposed Capital Cities Act.

"Insufficient funding by the state government will have major ramifications for the City of Subiaco and metropolitan local governments as we are required to fund the costs of reform from our own resources.”

Frequently asked questions

Who is the City of Subiaco merging with?
The state government has announced a boundary amendment to the Town of Cambridge, which will incorporate the City of Subiaco north of Aberdare Road into in an enlarged local government to be called the City of Subiaco, will take place on Wednesday 1 July 2015. It is also intended that UWA and QEII Medical Centre will be incorporated into an enlarged City of Perth which may include parts of Nedlands and Crawley south of Aberdare Road. For more information, visit the Department of Local Government and Communities' Metropolitan Local Government Reform website.

Will the city fight the decision?
At a special council meeting on 10 December 2014 the City of Subiaco council voted to proceed with an appeal against the recent Supreme Court  decision which is anticipated to be heard in the Supreme Court in 2015. Council is committed to maintaining:

  • the diversity and identity of the area
  • the high quality service standards the city provides.

Will the community be able to have their say through the provisions of the Dadour Amendment?
Poll provisions for the affected communities are not available. A full amalgamation would have enabled the poll provisions, however a boundary adjustment and the formation of a new organisation does not.

Will the City of Subiaco be split?
It is also intended that UWA and QEII will be incorporated into an enlarged City of Perth which may include parts of Nedlands and Crawley south of Aberdare Road. However, the City of Subiaco council reaffirmed its view that the integrity of the City of Subiaco needs to be preserved and that attempts by other local governments to take the area of the City of Subiaco south of Aberdare Road should be resisted. The appeal will be heard in 2015.

What areas will the new City of Subiaco include?
The new City of Subiaco will see the Town of Cambridge combine with Subiaco and take the name City of Subiaco, with some boundary adjustments (south of Aberdare Road, Nedlands). The new area includes Hackett Estate (Floreat) and parts of Mount Claremont and Shenton Park from the City of Nedlands. Churchlands, Herdsman, Wembley (part), Wembley Downs (part) will be transferred from the City of Stirling. Crawley will be transferred to the City of Riversea (the G5 which the minister rejected but hopes to achieve in future).

What will the new council be renamed?
The name of the new local government is an interim name that will be used in the early stages of its operations. Once the new council is in place it can decide to consult the community on a new name.

Who will the elected members and CEO be?
The city’s CEO, mayor and councillors will remain until Tuesday 30 June 2015. Town of Cambridge mayor and councillors will be the elected members of the new City of Subiaco on Wednesday 1 July 2015 until October 2015 elections. There will be no wards.

How long will the process of a boundary adjustment take?
It is intended that the Town of Cambridge and the City of Subiaco will become one entity on Wednesday 1 July 2015.

Will community services change?
The city is committed to ensuring service levels are responsive to community needs.

Why is the state government making these changes?
The state government has announced plans for widespread changes to local government arrangements in metropolitan Perth. The plans, which include reducing the number of local governments from thirty to fifteen from Wednesday 1 July 2015, are ostensibly aimed at building a stronger, more effective and financially secure local government sector.

How much will the amalgamations cost?
The state government has announced an amount of $15 million in grants over three years from 2014/15 onwards, and $45 million in low interest loans to local governments in 2015/16. There is no funding available for the construction of new offices and new systems and processes.

The city's work to date

10 December 2014

At a special council meeting on 10 December 2014 the City of Subiaco council voted to proceed with an appeal against this decision which is anticipated to be heard in the Supreme Court in 2015.

25 November 2014

A formal hearing date for Supreme Court legal action was set for Tuesday 25 November, and the city was unsuccessful on all counts.

10 September 2014

The LGAB provided the Minister for Local Government with its recommendations relating to thirty-four of the proposals on 10 September 2014, and on the remaining proposals on 19 September. 

24 June 2014

At its meeting on Tuesday 24 June 2014, council resolved to make two submissions to the LGAB, one opposing the Town of Mosman Park (Proposal Number 24) and one opposing the City of Perth (Proposal Number 26). These were lodged on Wednesday 25 June 2014.

You can view these submissions by the city below:

5 June 2014

At a special council meeting on 5 June 2014, the City of Subiaco council voted to proceed with legal action intended to maintain Subiaco as an independent and sustainable local government.

14 May 2014

The LGAB considered proposals submitted by the Minister for Local Government, local governments and electors for changes to local government districts by way of amalgamation or boundary change.

Early 2014, the LGAB invited public comment on thirty-four proposals. On 14 May 2014, the LGAB opened submissions on four additional proposals not considered in the original round of community consultation. The submission period closed on Thursday 26 June 2014.

Three of these proposals affect the City of Subiaco:

  • The City of Subiaco (Proposal Number 22)
  • The Town of Mosman Park (Proposal Number 24)
  • The City of Perth (Proposal Number 26)

May 2014

The City of Subiaco commissioned Professor Brian Dollery to produce an independent report about local government reform, titled Getting It Right: Structural Change in Perth Local Government. The report considers amalgamation in practice as well as guiding principles for mergers in local government.

Download the report (PDF, 5.4MB)

13 February 2014

At a special council meeting on 13 February 2014, the council of the City of Subiaco resolved to make two proposals to the LGAB. These proposals were submitted on 19 February 2014.

Mayor Heather Henderson said: “Our first preference is, and always has been, to remain an independent local government. However, given the state government’s intention to proceed with amalgamations and create a G7, council has acted in the best interests of our community.

“The first and foremost proposal is intended to retain our independence and identity, and rectify anomalies in the city’s boundaries. The second proposal is due to the raft of synergies shared by the cities of Subiaco and Perth that represent both resident and business needs.”

The LGAB accepted the city's proposals. The LGAB has advised that there will be a public submission period in relation to the city's second proposal to form a new local government through an amalgamation of the City of Subiaco and forecast expanded City of Perth.

At the Special Council Meeting on 13 February 2014, City of Subiaco council also resolved to make two submissions to the LGAB opposing the Minister for Local Government's proposal to create one local government in the western suburbs (G7) and the Town of Cambridge's proposal for boundary adjustments affecting the City of Subiaco. These submissions were made on 11 March 2014.

December 2013

Independent community survey results 

At its meeting on 26 November 2013, council also resolved to carry out an independent survey to gauge community views about local government structural reform. This survey was undertaken by Catalyse in December 2013, and was conducted by telephone with a randomised, representative sample of 451 residents and 101 businesses.

Download the outcomes of the independent telephone survey (PDF, 1.7MB).

Results of the modified online community survey

During December 2013, the city carried out a modified online version of the independent survey for community members who did not receive a phone call about the survey but wanted to have a say about local government structural reform. This survey was hosted on the city’s online community engagement website, Have your say Subiaco.

Participation in the online survey was on a self-selection basis and was open to all, not just City of Subiaco residents, with a total 185 completed surveys received.

Download the outcomes of the modified online community survey (PDF, 452KB). 

November 2013

At its meeting on 26 November 2013, the council of the City of Subiaco reaffirmed its preference for the city ‘to remain an independent council in its own right with no amalgamation’, as being in the best interests of the residents of Subiaco.

Recognising the stated position of the Premier and state government to amalgamate the western suburbs local governments (the so-called G7 option) as problematic, council resolved to carry out an independent survey on local government structural reform and examine two potential amalgamation options for the city with:

  • the City of Perth
  • the Town of Cambridge.

A report on the potential amalgamation options and community views was presented to council in February 2014.

Download the minutes from the November 2013 meeting

November 2013

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson made an announcement on 12 November 2013 regarding the state government’s submission to the Local Government Advisory Board. The proposed model suggests the City of Subiaco would amalgamate with the local governments of Cambridge, Claremont, Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Nedlands and Peppermint Grove, as well as parts of some surrounding suburbs.

Download the proposed western suburbs local government map from the Department of Local Government and Communities' website.

October 2013

The city did not submit a proposal to the Local Government Advisory Board on the new boundaries, which were announced in July. The deadline for proposal submissions was 4 October 2013.

August 2013

A special City of Subiaco council meeting was held on Thursday 15 August 2013 to discuss elected members’ motions on local government reform. Download the minutes from the meeting to see council's decision.

July 2013

On 30 July 2013 the state government announced that the City of Subiaco will be merged into one western suburbs council. The new local government will include the City of Nedlands, towns of Cambridge, Claremont, Cottesloe and Mosman Park, Shire of Peppermint Grove, the residential part of North Fremantle, the suburb of Wembley Downs and part of the suburb of Churchlands.

July 2012

The state government's Metropolitan Local Government Review report recommended a reduction in the number of local governments in metropolitan Perth from thirty to twelve. One of the report's more significant recommendations was a proposal to create one local government in the western suburbs (a G7), including Subiaco, Cambridge, Nedlands, Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Peppermint Grove and Claremont.

The report is available on the Metropolitan Local Government Reform website

April 2012

The Metropolitan Local Government Review (MLGR) Panel's draft findings indicate the panel's thoughts on the future of local government in metropolitan Perth and are not the panel's final position. The City of Subiaco prepared a submission in response to the panel's draft findings. The City of Subiaco response to MLGR Panel key findings (PDF, 216KB) addressed the twenty-three key findings. 

The Western Suburbs Regional Organisation of Councils (WESROC) engaged Professor Brian Dollery, from New England Education and Research, to produce an academic response to the draft findings of the panel. The Dollery report on the MLGR draft findings (PDF, 348KB) was prepared as a strictly independent report for the WESROC group of councils, which includes the local governments of Subiaco, Nedlands, Claremont, Cottesloe, Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove. 

Visit the Metropolitan Local Government Review Panel's website for more information on the review.

December 2011

The city sent a comprehensive submission to the Metropolitan Local Government Review Panel (PDF, 240KB) in December 2011. The submission was in response to an invitation to local governments and the community to respond to an issues paper that was released in October 2011. The city's submission essentially argued for the retention of the 'localist' form of local government that currently prevails within the Perth metropolitan region.

2010 to 2011

In August 2010 the City of Subiaco entered into a voluntary regional transition group with the City of Nedlands to undertake a feasibility study about the costs and benefits of a potential merger. To see council's resolution, please take a moment to view the June 2010 council minutes.

On Thursday 7 July 2011, the City of Subiaco Council unanimously voted against the proposed merger based on community feedback.

On Thursday 4 August 2011 the City of Subiaco received advice from the Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB) that it would conduct an inquiry into a merger in response to a request received from the City of Nedlands.

The City of Subiaco successfully blocked the LGAB's inquiry into a potential merger following a ruling at the Supreme Court on Tuesday 29 November 2011.

September 2009

The City of Subiaco's Local Government Reform submission (PDF, 8.4MB) on four boundary adjustment proposal options was submitted in September 2009.