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Inquiry into Fremantle Council?

Former Liberal leader Mike Nahan stood up in parliament last week and demanded to know why there was no government inquiry into Fremantle Council, given that councils with spectacularly good governance records like Melville and Cambridge have been investigated.

He pointed out that while Melville had the state's best FHI (Financial Health Index) of 98, for years in a row, Fremantle languishes on 44, the lowest of any metropolitan council.

He pointed out that while Melville has $150 million in the bank and can offer ratepayers $200 each off their rates, Fremantle proudly claims to be responsible for the state government allowing councils like Fremantle to borrow more money, and was "putting rates up 10%."

He said the fake sustainability claimed by Fremantle is shown in Melville's achievement of sending zero waste to landfill, "while Fremantle sent 10 to 15% of its rubbish to landfill" (actually staff informed the Fremantle Society last week that Fremantle Council now send 18% of rubbish to landfill).

The Liberal Party is not happy that after going out of its way in government to help Fremantle, by offering to send 1200 government workers to King's Square, knowing there were no votes in it for them, that Fremantle Council has stuffed up the project so badly, building a white elephant on the only town square in Western Australia with money it doesnt have.

Fremantle Council assured the State Government that the new administration building would pay its way and "take pressure off rate rises."

Former Premier Colin Barnett told the Fremantle Society that if he was still Premier, he would sack the whole council, not just order an enquiry.

It was two men who offered Fremantle the salvation that 1200 workers could bring, after so any workers exited Fremantle -1900 workers left the hospital, hundreds left from Customs, along with many police, and the ambulance service.

Bill Marmion, whose family memorial in Adelaide Street is still missing its plaque after thieves stole it, pushed the idea through Cabinet with the backing of Colin Barnett.

The inquiries into Melville and Cambridge Councils are scandalous politicking. After two years, nothing was found wrong at Melville Council, and two years after nothing was found at Cambridge, David Templeman, Minister for Local Government, and the weak Heritage Minister who cancelled the heritage grants program this year, has now begun another inquiry there.

David Templeman helped begin a new group in October 2014 called "Labor Connect", seeking to get more Labor people onto local councils.

With his alleged fee of $34,000, friend of mayor Pettitt, former Fremantle Councillor Tim Grey Smith (who left Fremantle owing his council $17,000, and worked as a Labor staffer), helped Labor's George Gear take Melville last year.

Heaven help Fremantle next year. 

In the meantime, who supports an inquiry into Fremantle Council?

John Dowson
The Fremantle Society

0409 223622


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