Posted July 26, 2012 by Western Suburbs Alliance
WSA was formed by members of community groups in Cottesloe, Nedlands and Subiaco who sensed the growing wave of fear, anger and alienation across the western suburbs resulting from the erosion of our democratic rights and threats to our communities and built and natural environment. Many of these issues are regularly featured prominently in the local press.
Fourteen thousand of us signed petitions against the Cottesloe beachfront development and 11,000 regarding the Perth Waterfront Development and rerouting of Riverside Drive. Nedlands electors made 800 submissions against the five-level Waratah Avenue development in Dalkeith. Subiaco has been overwhelmed with protests against high-rise developments. All to no avail. And many of us have also written to our local members, often receiving no acknowledgement or unsatisfactory answers.
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 Beyond and thrust upon us by the Western Australian Planning Commission.
In 2010, Parliament gave the Minister for Planning the powers to instigate any rezoning and approve any development without any means of appeal. Newly-introduced planning powers have taken away our Councils’ approval rights 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. None of us and nowhere is safe from the developers.
To further strengthen his control, the Premier has made it quite clear that he wishes to have fewer Councils. The Metropolitan Local Government Review (Robson Report) has given him exactly the recommendations he wants – an over-sized City of Perth, and few enormous local government authorities. We believe that any structural change must be supported by clear evidence of the economic and social benefits and 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”.
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. Our children and our 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 cherish 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. We decided that it was time to make our voices heard. In July, 38 Mayors, former Mayors, Councillors and high profile citizens signed a letter to the POST expressing our concerns, announcing our intention to launch WSA and inviting people to become members. Letter to the POST June 29 2012.
Since that time, our membership has grown expeditiously and we have received great support and encouragement from right across the metropolitan area and beyond. Our work has been reported on by The West Australian, the POST, Western Suburbs Weekly, Perth Now, WA Today, WA Business Week, The Australian, The Age, Australian Financial Review, ABC TV and radio in Perth, 6PR and WTV. We have held two very well attended and highly successful public forums to inform the public on amalgamation and planning issues and to gain their views on the actions needed. We plan more events in the run up to the State election on March 9, 2013. If you are not a member, please join and invite family, friends and colleagues to do so too. WSA Membership form.