What will it take for our Premier Barnett, Planning Minister John Day, and Minister for Environment; Water Bill Marmion and the Liberal Government to respond to the growing wave of fear, anger and alienation across the western suburbs?
What will it take for them to acknowledge just how much we resent the erosion of our democratic rights and threats to our communities and built and natural environment?
Do they really feel they can go on treating us with utter contempt and making derogatory remarks about our ‘demographics’ and unwillingness to embrace change whenever we express our views?
Fourteen thousand of us signed petitions against the Cottesloe beachfront development and 11,000 regarding the Perth Waterfront Development and rerouting of Riverside Drive. The electors made 800 submissions against the five-storey Waratah Avenue Development in Dalkeith. Subiaco has been overwhelmed with protests against high-rise developments. We have written to our public representatives. All to no avail.
All of these developments have one thing in common – they are quick-fix, unwanted and undesirable State Government moves to create higher density, high rise development as dictated by Directions 2031 and thrust upon us by the Western Australian Planning Commission.
In 2010, Parliament gave the Minister for Planning the powers to instigate any rezoning or approve any development without consultation and without anymeans of appeal. These newly-introduced planning powers have taken away our Councils’ approvals for many developments over $3M and for all developments over $7M. The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority Act of 2011 entitles the Government to sell off any parkland and public land for development. Make no mistake. No-one and nowhere is safe from the developers.
To further strengthen his control, the Premier has made it clear that he wishes to have fewer Councils. The Metropolitan Review of Local Government (Robson Report) has given him exactly the options he wants – an over-sized City of Perth, or a few enormous local government authorities. Any structural change must be supported by demonstrated evidence of the economic and social benefits and must be subject to community veto.
The Premier continues with his reckless plans regardless of well-researched, well-considered and well-argued professional, local government, community and individual submissions on planning and local government management issues. We now learn that a secretive fund raising group of millionaires and property developers, the ‘Leaders’ Forum’ is, in their own terms, “telling Ministers how to conduct their affairs”.
This is the death of democracy. We are being denied the right to have a say on the nature of our communities, our neighbourhoods and our lifestyle. We elect people to represent us in Government. We then expect open consultation and constructive dialogue to ensure that the communities’ needs and aspirations take precedence over developers’ commercial interests or State Government ideologies. And we want the right of appeal. We are the ones whose children and grandchildren will live with the outcomes of bad planning.
This is not a Liberal versus Labor issue. It is the people versus the destruction of the city and lifestyle we love and hold in trust for future generations.
Unfettered power in the hands of one group or individual leads to arrogance, bad decision making, cronyism and corruption. It is time to make our voices heard. We are forming a Western Suburbs Alliance (WSA) and invite all community groups and individuals who share our concerns to visit our website (www.westernsuburbsalliance.org/), give us your thoughts on the issues and ideas on the actions needed, and sign up for membership of WSA.
Colin Latchem – Dalkeith Tony Costa OAM – Subiaco
Richard Diggins OAM – Subiaco Ken Eastwood AM – Dalkeith
John Hammond – Cottesloe Dr Bruce Haynes – Claremont
Max Hipkins – Dalkeith Kevin Morgan – Cottesloe
Ron Norris – Mosman Park Emeritus Professor Martyn Webb – Dalkeith
Dr Linley Lutton – Doubleview Scott Arbuckle – Subiaco
Pat Carmichael – Cottesloe Paul Clements – Subiaco
Anne Christie – Churchlands Elaine Jacoby – Dalkeith
Mal Jacoby – Dalkeith Bill James – Nedlands
Toni James – Nedlands Derek Leeder – Shenton Park
Helen Leeder – Shenton Park Paola Lovi – Dalkeith
Julie Matheson – Subiaco Patsy Millett – Dalkeith
Wayne Monks – Wembley Downs Helen Passmore – Subiaco
Maxine Prentice – Subiaco Brian Prentice – Subiaco
Dr Linda J. Rogers – Subiaco Jack Walsh – Cottesloe
Chris Wiggins – Cottesloe Margaret Wilkes – Cottesloe
Paul Wilkes – Cottesloe