Lobby groups declares war on Barnett

 

Beatrice Thomas
June 25, 2012, 2:15 am

High-profile western suburbs professionals and community leaders have united to rally against the Barnett Government on multiple policy fronts as disquiet grows in the Liberal Party’s heartland.

The Western Suburbs Alliance, a union of interest groups, says the Government has presided over “an erosion of our democratic rights”.

It says its actions have caused a “growing wave of fear, anger and alienation across the western suburbs”. Key issues include high-rise rows in Cottesloe, Dalkeith and Subiaco, the Elizabeth Quay project on the Perth foreshore, local council mergers and “draconian” planning reforms such as development assessment panels.

Critically, the alliance vows to back candidates sympathetic to its causes at next year’s State election.

A letter for the group’s planned launch this week said approaches to local Liberal MPs had been “to no avail”. In contrast, wealthy businessmen and international firms had private access to Colin Barnett and his ministers for $25,000 at a so-called Leaders’ Forum.

“We elect people to represent us in Government; we then expect open consultation and constructive dialogue,” the letter says.

The more than 30 signatories include lawyer John Hammond, architect and City Gatekeepers’ spokesman Linley Lutton, Emeritus Professor Martyn Webb, Nedlands mayor Max Hipkins and Cottesloe mayor Kevin Morgan.

“It’s not a few spot fires because there’s a whole lot of people who are upset,” Mr Hammond, who heads Keep Cott Low, said yesterday.

The area includes the seats of the Premier (Cottesloe), Environment Minister Bill Marmion (Nedlands) and Education Minister and independent MP Liz Constable (Churchlands) which the Liberals hope to retake when she retires at the March election.

Political analyst Harry Phillips said upsets would be a tough task but a high-profile independent getting Labor and Greens preferences had “a good chance”.

“If I was the Government, I’d be just nervous at this stage,” he said.

Mr Barnett said the Government was making the right decisions in the interests of all in the State. He said the Cottesloe and Perth waterfront debates had gone on for decades and it was “generally accepted” WA had too many councils.

The West Australian

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Legislation for bigger City of Perth set to be sunk as Liberals line up to cross floor on proposal

JOE SPAGNOLO POLITICAL EDITOR PERTHNOW JANUARY 24, 2015 6:00PM

PREMIER Colin Barnett’s plan to legislate a supersized City of Perth is set for the scrap heap, with members of his own party vowing to vote against it.

Mr Barnett’s former police minister, Rob Johnson, declared he would oppose the proposal when it was debated in State Parliament.

Mr Johnson said other Liberals were lining up to cross the floor, with Upper House MP Simon O’Brien speaking out against it.

In the Lower House, 21 Labor MPs, seven Nationals MPs and now Mr Johnson are set to join forces to try to defeat the Bill in the 59-member Legislative Assembly.

If just one more Liberal MP crosses the floor on this issue in the Assembly, the Bill will be defeated.

Mr Johnson said the City of Perth Act, which involved ­expanding boundaries to incl­ude major institutions such as the University of WA in a new Perth locality, robbed people of a vote on the issue.

He said he would not support “forced amalgamations”.

“It’s a question of arrogance.” Mr Johnson said. “(Mr Barnett) knows there are people within the Liberal Party who are opposed to the City of Perth Act and forced amalgamations.”

Mr O’Brien also vented his anger at the proposal, saying: “Apart from Colin (Barnett), I don’t know of anyone else on the planet who is for what is being proposed in local government.”

Mr Johnson’s plan to cross the floor is a major blow for Mr Barnett, who would not comment yesterday. He is already struggling to get enough numbers to pass his planned Act.

In the Upper House, the Liberals’ partner in government, the Nationals – who hold the balance of power – have already indicated they will not support it.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said: “WA Labor will not support any laws that remove the right for a local ­referendum or have vote weighting”.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said: “It would be a travesty if our members in State Government did not support this. It is incumbent on each of them to understand the merit of a stronger capital city and the tangible benefits it will deliver.”

Merger may include vote weighting

Kate Emery West Australian Newspaper
Under the State Government’s plan the whole of the City of Vincent will be merged with the City of Perth.

Mr Barnett has indicated there could be vote weighting introduced to stop residential voters in Vincent controlling the CBD.

Vincent Mayor John Carey said he was not opposed to a ward structure but he would fight any plans for vote weighting.

“We won’t accept any scenario where City of Vincent ratepayers are disadvantaged or worse off,” he said. “We believe there should be equal representation for all voters.

“We all accept that the CBD should have its own ward but that’s a very different thing to saying it should have extra representation or a gerrymander model.

“The devil is always in the detail and we are seriously concerned that again the Premier had an opportunity to say there wouldn’t be a gerrymander and we wouldn’t rule it out.”

In a statement, Nationals leader Terry Redman said the party did not support forced local government reform and indicated its position on the legislation had not changed.

“The party is not confident that the City of Perth Act would be consistent with this principle,” Mr Redman said.

“Further, I’ve seen nothing that gives me confidence that the regions won’t be next.”

City of Perth Act to create a great capital for WA

Premier and Minister’s Media Statement

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

​City of Perth Act to be drafted as part of metropolitan local government reform
Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have their own Acts of Parliament
Consultation with key stakeholders in the new year.

The State Government will draft a City of Perth Act which will establish Perth as the city’s pre-eminent council, with legislation due for introduction into State Parliament early next year.

Premier Colin Barnett said consultation with relevant parties would begin in the new year, resulting in an Act to recognise Perth as the State’s capital city and acknowledge its central role in tourism and economic development.

“Given the Government’s investment in revitalising Perth with investments such as Elizabeth Quay, the Perth City Link and Riverside, it’s timely for the City of Perth to have this special recognition,” Mr Barnett said.

“The city is the centre of business and retail activity and is the pre-eminent entertainment precinct in the State. This Act will recognise the need for it to be treated differently from other residential councils.”

The Act will also outline the City of Perth’s expanded boundaries, which will take in all of the City of Perth and the City of Vincent plus The University of Western Australia, Kings Park, the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre and the new Perth Children’s Hospital.

“It will bring several of the features that are Perth’s great selling points under one council which makes good sense from a planning and tourism point of view,” the Premier said.

“Cabinet has this week approved the drafting of the Act which will lay the foundations for building a great capital. A bigger and stronger City of Perth will be better equipped to respond to the demands of a growing State – and better represent WA on the world stage.

“It will give the city the status it should hold as Australia’s west coast capital and an increasingly important city in the Asia region.”

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said the Act was a high priority for the State Government.

The Act will be drafted in consultation with both the City of Perth and the current City of Vincent as well as relevant business, tourism and ratepayer associations.

Mr Simpson said the State Government’s plan for metropolitan local government reform was on track with reforms being progressively put in place.

Fact File
The new Act would operate in conjunction with the Local Government Act 1995
For more information, visit http://metroreform.dlg.wa.gov.au
Premier’s office – 6552 5000
Local Government Minister’s office – 6552 6600