The Cost of Unity

Ken Eastwood

Western Suburbs Alliance -13 November 2014

Many of our Local Government electors are ill informed as to the extent of required changes attributable to council amalgamations and the variety of areas where additional costs will be incurred. Such was the comment in a letter to the West Australian early in November 2014 when the writer commented “Surely it won’t cost millions to alter the stationery”.

Changes to stationery stocks are the very least of the costs which amalgamated councils will be forced to fund.  Here are a few more of the initial costs of this exercise:

– Aligning of all the IT, financial and administrative systems. There are currently four different IT platforms operating throughout Local Government in WA.

– The cost of election of new councilors, which will forever be tainted by the demands of the political parties of our state.

– Aligning all operational procedures

– Retraining of staff

– Designing and applying new logos, stationery, street and other signs, websites, etc.

– Refurbishing of council offices or even building and establishing new and bigger offices.

– Redundancies and/or redeployment

– The growing number of costs being passed on to councils by the State and Federal governments

– Other costs – who knows???

And then there are additional ongoing costs such as the cost of replacing all current elected low paid councillors (about $35,000 per year at present) with up to 12 new councillors per huge Council to be paid up to $120,000 each per year as in the Eastern States. Council CEO’s will have to be paid much more to equate with higher responsibilities. In addition, Mayors of these new super Councils will need to be paid 3 times more than their current $80,000 or so per year. Certainly there are no savings to be had in this area.

So not only will we be faced with huge initial and ongoing additional costs, we have no idea just how much these costs will amount to.

Perhaps the Premier or the Minister for Local Government have estimates of these additional costs. If not – why not? If Yes – why haven’t we been told just what these costs will amount to?

 

 

 

 

 

13 November 2014

WSA Circular to members

Hello to all our members and supporters.

Although it is a while since we last contacted you, it is now time to consider the future activities of Western Suburbs Alliance (WSA). WSA was originally formed to “Represent the interests of, and provide information on planning and local government amalgamation issues to residents and ratepayers” of the Western Suburbs and to support various independent candidates, and what they stood for, at the 2013 State elections.

We now find ourselves with a different problem and WSA is in a strong position to promote our opposition to the Premier’s new political stance. As you are aware the Barnett government has gone back on its election promise of “no forced local government amalgamations” and is now proceeding to force council amalgamations on the Western Australian communities within the greater metropolitan area.

To justify this stance the Premier and the Minister for Local Government have decreed that what they are now planning is simply a matter of boundary changes and therefore cannot be seen as local government amalgamations. We see this as arrogant duplicity and a direct about face from what was, we believe, a very firm election commitment a little over 12 months ago not to force such amalgamations.

Whilst we do not believe we are able to oppose this high handed approach by Premier Barnett and Minister Simpson in the greater metropolitan area, we do believe that WSA is the ideal group to specifically oppose such a push by the Premier for amalgamation of Western Suburbs councils. This is because even the Premier cannot argue that an amalgamation of seven western suburbs councils cannot simply be seen as boundary changes but must be recognised as amalgamation of such into a Group of 7 (G7) or a Group of 5 (G5).

It is our intention to utilise WSA to embark on a fundraising drive to enable us to raise sufficient funds to enter into an advertising drive to educate the public about this dishonesty. We will endeavour to force the Premier to resolve the future local government status of the Western Suburbs by ensuring that the public are able to vote on the matter of local government amalgamations through a general poll of all western suburbs ratepayers.

Such a poll would be required to be conducted in accordance with the “Dadour provisions” of the Local Government Act. Those provisions require, in any Local Government area, that 50% of all electors must turnout at a Poll to vote on the future of their Local Government and that if 50% +1 of those required to vote oppose the suggested new regime for any particular Local Government within the Western Suburbs then the proposed amalgamation of the Western Suburbs Councils cannot proceed.

We believe that such a poll would easily defeat the forced amalgamation issue in the Western Suburbs and that our Local Government Councils will then be able to continue, as they are at present, to serve their ratepayers with the same level of service and efficiency as has been the case in the past. In this manner massive additional costs will be avoided and relevant building by-laws will continue to serve the public interest (not just property developers) as has been the case in the past.

As mentioned previously, such opposition by us will require both manpower and financial support. May we, therefore, sincerely request your help. If you are able to help with letterbox deliveries in your area please contact us by using our email address as shown below. More importantly, your monetary assistance by joining or renewing your membership of Western Suburbs Alliance would be of great assistance to us.

Finally we would also ask that you do not hesitate to contact us with suggestions.

With best wishes,

Ken Eastwood

Western Suburbs Alliance Inc.

Thursday 28th August 2014

WSA Public Forum – Dalkeith 20 February 2013 – a presentation by Ken Eastwood

Profli-gate – How are we paying for all these future projects?

I would like to ask you all to take your memory back to four and a half years ago.  At that time we had a very even result as to who would govern our State for the next term.  So close was the result of that last election that the future government was decided by the minority National Party.

At the time we, the voting public, were mainly concerned about Law and Order, our very much under pressure Public Health system, the inadequacy of our Public Transport and major road systems, our deteriorating Education facilities and the escalation of Perth’s cost of living.

So, having been a staunch Liberal supporter for all of my life, these comments are not about party politics but they are about how just our present Government has spent our taxpayer dollars.

With a net State debt of $3.6 billion dollars four and a half years ago, we were easily convinced that the coming mining boom would solve all of our problems. Right now, after just 4½ years of that mining boom we have a state debt projected to grow to $18.6 billion dollars by 30 June this year. That is an increase of 520% in that short period.  On current estimates our net state debt will reach $25 billion dollars by the end of the 2015-16 financial year.

Even with our recent population explosion that is an increase from $1,650 per head of population in 2008 to approximately $6,250 per head in 2012 and on current trends will reach $9,400 per head of population by June 2016. Our net share of State debt per head of population has quadrupled in just 4.5 years.   Such an increase in debt levels will have occurred during the most profitable five years in the State’s history.

But, is there any good news? Continue reading

Western Suburbs Alliance – Dalkeith Forum – 20 February 2013

Wednesday 20 February, 2013, 7.30-9.30pm,

C3 Church Auditorium, 95A Waratah Avenue, Dalkeith

You don’t need to be a town planner to know that . . . 

  • Perth is a sprawling dysfunctional city with growing traffic problems and known as Australia’s least sustainable capital city
  • The new state planning laws and undemocratic, secretive DAPs cut councils and communities out of the planning process
  • The State Government’s high-density, high-rise infill ideology and unrelenting pressure from developers are destroying our suburbs and lifestyle. 

You don’t need to be an environmentalist to know that . . .

  • Our unique bushland and leafy suburbs are under threat from population growth, economic development and greed
  • The quality of our natural environment is directly related to our quality of life. It is central to our health, wealth and happiness
  • We need a fresh approach to managing, using and protecting what is WA’s greatest heritage – our natural environment.

You don’t need to be a financial wizard to know that . . . 

  • During the most profitable years in WA’s history, the State Debt has risen from $3.6billion to $17 billion or by 460 percent
  • The money has been spent on questionable projects, not improving public infrastructure that the City needs
  • The state’s AAA-credit rating is close to being sorely tested. It will be the taxpayers who have to pay for the Government’s profligacy.

But hear the experts and have your say. We all know there are better alternatives . . . 

Richard Diggins OAM  Chairperson      

Piers Verstegen  Conserving our diverse environments

Dr Linley Lutton  The critical issues in city planning   

Dr. Beth Schultz AO  Protecting our old-growth forests

Ken Adam  Where urban planning is going wrong    

Ken Eastwood AM  The WA state budget deficit 

Max Hipkins (Independent candidate for Nedlands) How we can still get a good outcome from Elizabeth Quay             

Dr George Crisp (Greens candidate for Nedlands)The links between planning, environment and health