Last week we saw a resident bring months of questions to the Fremantle City Council and their failure to answer even one, brought out into the public arena.
A week later the Herald has dug into not just Kings Sq issue but COF financial forward projections, (See article SAMSON REC TO PAY FOR NEW HQ) raising even more questions on the finances behind these issue’s, it’s important to remember why the city may not be paying for something if they lose revenue streams due to the transfer/sale/loss of the fund raising asset the loss of revenue must be replaced somehow? could that be in rate increases or more cuts to services?
Some of the documents that were used to the make or build the business finances are kept confidential and have not been released to the public, despite many attempts by different individuals and groups?
Several years ago the Fremantle Society asked similar question that Mr Lee raised, so years later the COF still has still not answered these questions. The question has to be why will they not have an open transparent discussion on this issue, do they have something to hide? Why will they not release years old council minutes and attachments for public access? Why the secrecy? What’s, doing on? What don’t they want us to know?
Do they think it’s too boring for us to read, or is that we are too stupid to understand this business plan? Or is there something else behind it?
MR Lee has not questioned the fact Freo needs to develop areas like Kings Sq, he supports it. His question lay more in the realm of the documents that the COF has used to build this plans finances and the secret documents they hide from public view?
Sadly the Fremantle Council has launch an attack on Mr Lee for asking, simple questions. Is this sort of attack designed to discourage others from questioning COF decisions? Is it designed to distract or shift attention from the real questions Mr Lee asked? Is this what we expect from a body elected to represent our interests? I wonder how this looks in the light of the code of conduct the city has, which is supposed to guild its elected members in their conduct or behaviour
Here is a short extract from the city’s Code of Conduct and a Link so anyone interested can read the whole document.
- An elected member or committee member must observe the Code of Conduct whenever he or she conducts the business of the Local Government.
- Where an elected member or committee member acts as a representative of the Local Government or on any other body, he or she must comply with the Code of Conduct or any relevant law.
- An elected member or committee member must –
act with honesty and integrity;
treat others with respect, fairness and equality;
undertake their role with reasonable care and due diligence;
be open and accountable to the public for their actions and the manner in which they carry out their responsibilities;
take account of the views of others in decision making;
not do anything which compromises or which is likely to compromise the impartiality of those who work for or on behalf of the Local Government;
uphold the law and, on all occasions, act in accordance with the trust the public is entitled to place in them;
conduct themselves in a manner that maintains the reputation of their office and Local Government;
FREMANTLE’S Mayor BRAD PETTITT and council CEO GRAEME MACKENZIE co-authors, had a great opportunity to put the whole issue to bed, the Herald to their credit allowed the city a platform to answer Mr Lee’s questions, explain the detail behind the business plan and satisfy peoples concern/interest with an intelligent answer. Instead it seems they choose to use childish bully boy style tactics and denigrating style slurs, something I wouldn’t except from my 8yr old.
What will we see unearthed in the weeks to come? If the Kings Sq project becomes a financial burden to the City how will it be funded? Are rate payers prepared to pay higher rates, so the Mayors dream can happen? How much will his vision cost the average rate payer, what will the average rate payer get from seeing the Mayors dream completed?
Seems there is lots of questions but few answers. Fremantle already has high rates and some of the biggest increases last year, what can we expect to see in rate increase over the next couple of years? Apart from diminishing amenity and services what can we hope to gain from higher rates? What’s in it for us? Is anyone actually looking out for our best interests?
This issue has been taken to the minster for LG already, the response did not deal with the issues raised, so now we see a concern MP raise these issues again in parliament. Where will it go next, perhaps with the lack of answers to legitimate questions it could be time for the auditor general to look into the issue to ensure rate payer’s best interests are being addressed?