Poll of Electors - Town to City

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At its Ordinary Council Meeting held on 16 April 2019, Council resolved to conduct a poll of electors asking if the community would support a name change from “Town of Victoria Park” to “City of Victoria Park”.

The results of this poll will be provided to Council so that it may consider whether or not to request the Minister for Local Government to change its status from Town to City.

The results of this poll are not binding on the Council.

Question: Do you support changing the name of the 'Town of Victoria Park' to the 'City of Victoria Park'.

Detailed below is a summary of key points for and against the proposal:

Case for YES Case for NO
  • Coming of age: Being a City could reflect a coming of age in the Town’s history, growth and development.

  • Population: The district’s population is 36,601 which exceeds the minimum requirement for city status (more than 30,000 inhabitants) and is expected to reach 75,000 by 2050.

  • Infrastructure: The Town has major urban centre attractions and facilities such as Optus Stadium, the Crown Casino and Curtin University.

  • Recognition: The district is known as the Town of Victoria Park, locally and nationally and the district has been known as a ‘Town’ for 25 years.

  •  Cost: The change of name will require money to be spent to change signage and branding.

  • Community sentiment: Some membersof the community perceive that being a Town means a more connected community.

What is the difference between a Town and a City?

Local governments are defined in three categories – Shires, which are generally local governments with mainly rural populations; Towns, which are generally small, mainly urban population centres; and Cities, with larger urban population centres.

A local government area is eligible for city status in the Perth metropolitan area when it has more than 30,000 residents, with more than half living in an urban area.

A local government’s status is designated by the state government, but provided certain population criteria are met, Towns can become Cities, and Shires can become Towns or Cities. This change is initiated by a request of Council to the Minister for Local Government to determine a change of designation or status.

What is the process for a status change to occur?

A request needs to be made by Council to the Minister for Local Government for a designation change, which also changes the local government body’s name. The Town of Victoria Park would be renamed, City of Victoria Park from a certain date nominated.

If the Minister for Local Government approves the request, Governor’s Orders would be issued and gazetted, making the change in designation law. The Minister for Local Government may also at their discretion change the designation of a district without a request from the local government.

When did Council propose making a change in status?

At this stage, Council has only proposed to ask the community what they think.

A notice of motion proposing to hold a plebiscite on city status in conjunction with the upcoming local government elections was approved at the February council meeting.

This means community voting in the elections will also be asked to have a say on whether they think the Council should stay a Town or change its name to City of Victoria Park.

The outcome of this poll is non-binding and only intended to inform a further Council decision on whether to request a change from Town to City or not.

What’s happened so far?

At its meeting Council requested for staff to investigate and report back on what a status change could mean for the Town, with advice on potential impacts, benefits and costs.

This report was presented to Council in June.

Now, a draft background information document presenting potential yes/no arguments to be included in resident ballot paper packages is due to be approved by Council at the August meeting.

This background statement and the arguments are located on the ballot paper and on this webpage.

Following the counting of the votes, a report is expected to the November Council meeting with the results.

How much will it cost?

There is no cost to officially change the Council’s status, but our research has shown estimated additional costs of change beyond what would be included in the normal Town budget would be around $102,500, if the Council approves a number of proposals to update its brand identity replace primary materials and assets to reflect the name change. For example entry statement signs at Town boundary locations.

The Town would propose to replace other longer term items like various style of signage containing references to ‘Town’ on an as-required basis which would steadily convert all outstanding items over an estimated ten-year period.

Do Councillor or staff salaries and wages increase with city status?

No. Allowances for Councillors and salaries and wages of all staff will not change as a result of the change of status. These are separate from the name of the local government. They are allocated on the basis of the band of the local government as determined by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal.

Will rates go up?

No. Rates will not go up as a result of being renamed a City. Local Government rates are tied to the State Valuer General’s determination and calculated based on Gross Rental Value (GRV). The GRV is the annual rental valuation of a property. The Town's rate in the dollar is determined when Council sets its budget annually.

Will services change?

No, not as a result of a change to city status. Significant changes to service levels and programs delivered to the community are required to be operationally reviewed regularly and changes proposed need to be endorsed by Council, and therefore open to the community consultation. This will continue to be the case.

Does it impact land use or rezoning?

No, council adopted local planning strategies and schemes will be unaffected, and require endorsement of the WA Planning Commission.

Will it improve the Town’s advocacy efforts, or secure more external funding?

The Town has seen no real barrier to receiving state or federal government grant contributions to date. Other local governments have seen an increase since changing from a Shire or Town to a City, while some have seen no change, following City status changes. Examples of this include:

Name of District

Grant Funding

Town/Shire

City

Vincent

$1,208,546 (09-10)

$1,241,273 (10-11)

$1,760,026 (11-12)

$1,567,459 (12-13)

Busselton

$3,028,276 (09-10)

$3,160,904 (10-11)

$5,106,374 (11-12)

$6,403,843 (12-13)

Kwinana

$6,218,161 (09-10)

$7,183,542 (10-11)

$8,645,891 (11-12)

$11,016,458 (12-13)

Kalamunda

$6,868,761 (09-10)

$4,882,108 (10-11)

$6,773,668 (11-12)

$2,683,336 (12-13)

 

For more information about WA local government and council elections visit: https://www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/localgovernment