The uproar of some sections of the media and public commentators is interesting in relation to the Barnett Government proposed amalgamations.
Local commentator Roel Loopers in his blog Freo’s View has called our Premier Colin Barnett a liar for breaking an election promise, and there are calls to march on Parliament. Come on get real.
Where was Roel when Julia Gillard promised that she would not introduce a Carbon Tax, a tax that affects us every day through our hip pockets. He fawned over her and was indignant when Kevin Rudd deposed her as Prime Minister. The Fremantle Society has a “Sock it Colin Facebook” page which has been described as stupid, and I would go further, but as Roel says it “has not many likes and disappointing few comments.”
I do not support the proposed amalgamation of Fremantle, East Fremantle and Melville.
But I feel that we have been let down by our elected representatives who were aware that amalgamations were coming but had their collective heads in the sand thinking that it would not happen, especially in Fremantle.
Barnett has sent the Mayors packing and said get back to us by October with your proposals. Mayor Brad Pettitt should have had an agreement with Cockburn that Fremantle and Cockburn merge instead of the terrible proposal that was sent to ratepayers. Simple, Fremantle and Cockburn share cultural, sporting and business ties so it is a natural fit.
The fact is that council amalgamations are inevitable and have been very successful in some other states, but it takes a strong politican to take a stance because there are no votes in it. Diana Ryan states that Labor Premier Alan Carpenter wanted to reduce the number of councils. I spoke to a former Labor Minister of Local Government on Monday and he stated that it should have been done 10 years ago. Former Mayor Richard Utting advocates the merge with Cockburn and describes Fremantle as the cultural jewel in the crown, so we need to preseve this by not merging with Melville.
Yesterday I listened to our Mayor, Brad, on ABC radio and he seemed resigned to be on the losing team, but it is up to us to support him and his councillors in finding a solution rather than knocking the politicans who are making the correct decision. Read today’s editorial in “the West Australian” and the experience of home builder Dale Alcock who has to deal with “hundreds of hundreds of pages of regulation, for dozens of dozens of councils, for the simple engineering feet (sic) of laying a few metres of concrete.”
I was a ratepayer in the City of Melville for over 25 years and could not have any contact with councillors, but after living in Fremantle for two and a half years I think that I have met about two thirds of the Fremantle councillors, including the Mayor, and that is something that I value.