Fremantle City’s D Day

Today in parliament the minister for local government Tony Simpson is due to answer the questions on the COF Kings Sq Business Plan he was asked in parliament last March by Peter Tinley the member for Willagee.

What’s more important is the residents and rate payers of Fremantle and come to think of it all of Western Australia will find out if the Minister for Local Government stands for good governance, accountability, transparency, true representation, responsible financial due diligence, for the residents and ratepayers, or will he allow the city of Fremantle to continue on its course of hiding behind confidential meetings, hidden documents and secret reports.

The residents and rate payers of Fremantle have asked simple questions of the city of Fremantle over the last 7 months + and over this time have received no answers, to not even one question.

What is it that the city has to hide, why the secrecy? Where will they try to spin this story too next?

Why is it after 7 months of ratepayers question there are no answers but we see in the media, quotes of answers next week? How is this possible, I wonder if the city has engaged professional help in answering these questions, if so at what cost? As it seems there Media or PR staff are busy with some  attempts at distraction over the last few weeks?

Why would the minister not assist the residents in their questions to find the truth?

If not the minister for local government who do residents go to when being stone walled by their council? Why do we need a minister for local government if he is not able to even assist in a simple but basic issue like getting reasonable questions asked?

If real answers do not come in due course the minister and council would be naive, to think these questions will go away.

Today we get to see what good governance means to the minister

 

Question On Notice No. 3834 asked in the Legislative Assembly on 25 March 2015 by Mr P.C. Tinley

Question Directed to the: Minister for Local Government
Question Directed to: Hon A.J. Simpson
Minister responding: Hon A.J. Simpson
Parliament: 39 Session: 1

Question

(1) Is the Minister aware of community concerns over how the City of Fremantle has represented the financial implications of their $45 million investment of ratepayer funds in its Kings Square Business Plan, and if so, what action has the Minister taken to address these concerns?
(2) Has the Minister directed the City of Fremantle to answer legitimate ratepayer questions concerning the Kings Square Business Plan, and if not, why not?
(3) Has the Minister conducted a full and proper investigation into the questions raised with regard to the Kings Square Business Plan:
(a) if so, what were the findings; and
(b) if not, why not?
(4) Is the Minister satisfied that the Kings Square Business Plan:
(a) accurately represents the financial implications that the $45 million project will have on the City of Fremantle’s asset base; and
(b) correctly represents the rate of return and net present value derived from this investment of ratepayer funds?
(5) Is the Minister satisfied that the Kings Square Business Plan contains sufficient detail for ratepayers and Councillors to properly understand whether this project increases or decreases the asset base of the City of Fremantle, and if so, for what reason?

Updated images for City of Fremantle civic, library and admin building | City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s Blog

Updated images for City of Fremantle civic, library and admin building | City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s Blog.

Amazing timing when there are real questions on the Kings Sq project being asked, involving an approx. $30,000,000.00 questioned difference in the outcome for the financials. The mayor has conveniently received some great drawing of how the place will look.

Then he questions why people ask, why the spin, here is an example. The best way to stop the questions of the business plan is just answer the questions, right?

Instead we get some more impressions of how the place will look, PR instead of facts. A quick distraction won’t it look great, what an asset, what a drawcard, future, activating etc. The real issue is those pictures and PR aren’t being questioned, it’s the financials to justify the project, some quotes from (Roels Freoview)* on line from the people of Fremantle

“Brad, if you really have ‘nothing to hide’ as you state, please make public to ratepayers the detailed spreadsheet that shows the 20 year forecast cash flows which the NPV and IRR are calculated. If you did the speculation about both the financial valuation methodology and assumptions utilised would cease.”

Brad, Just spin up till now then all of a sudden you propose “maybe” a trickle can be revieled/released, except some aspects? I think Dianas` proposal is sound. “We” as residents and ratepayers are paying for external lawyers to “view them ” just to decide if they “should be released to us” or held in secret. Really? We (FCC)should invite/pay the Auditor General to “view them” also and let him decide not only if they should be released to us, but expose the whole deal for what it is “in detail” to us. Just the thought of that may be enough for the City to produce some form of “Spreadsheet”.

“Brad, sounds like you’ve started to hide behind lawyers and caveats already. Your earlier ‘nothing to hide’ statement means pretty much nothing. What timeframe are you intending to ‘see what we can release’?”

“Martin’s questions are straight forward and need to be answered directly. There is no absolutely need for all this verbiage and obfuscation.
The fact that so much time and space has been taken up with distracting rhetoric and spin by Council has to now also be questioned. This is public money,and there is no defence or argument at all for not providing answers to these non provocative questions.
For elected public officers who have a fiduciary duty and accountability to their rate payers, to continue to prevaricate and avoid answering a simple response to questions as to how a financial conclusion in a public Business Plan has been reached, has to be questioned by those who provide the money, and clearly, now the actual avoidance by those elected to responsibly handle those public monies, to substantiate how the Business Plan has been formulated, must now be in the spotlight and scrutinised by the State Government, who is responsible for the functioning of Local Government.
The Mayor, as the manager, must provide the answers and be transparent. It is not his decision not to.
This has be an ongoing concern for 6 months.
The Minister must step in now and ask Council why it will not answer to its rate payers and be transparent, accountable and responsible. What is going on?Enough!!!! Just do it!!”

“The real question that needs to be asked ( and answered ), is whether one would trust the abilities of the Mayor and Council, when dealing with such large sums of ratepayers money. Any question of the CoF acquiring debt to fund this project has to be subject to further independent scrutiny.”

“This whole deal will just be one surprise after another.
Its clear this is a council we have to watch every step of the way
they seem to be only interested in their own agenda, looks like the rate payer will just get screwed
how did we end with such a crap council
thank god we have people in our city who r watching what these guys are up too
is this the worse council ever”

 

There’s plenty more questions being raised out there, a simple rubber stamp from the Minister for LG that the COF has a business plan will not wash, it seems people want real answers, not glossy magazines, pretty picture, hollow promises, not more spin or misdirection.

Just answer the questions. They are not going away and will continue until the ratepayer and residents of Fremantle have real answers.

 

*updated.

Cancelled: City of Fremantle’s $3,000,000.00 Shopping Day

Up till the full council meeting started this evening we (the audience some who had only come to listen to this one issue) where expecting the C1503-4 HEIRLOOM DEVELOPMENT to come up in “discussion” at council.

But up first the Mayor let everyone know that Match had withdrawn the request for the city to buy in, so just like that a $3,000,000.00 investment of city funds is off the table, The Mayor Brad Pettitt did note they would get back to them should they need the city to buy in later, good to know the city bankroll is sitting there on tap? Yesterday the Mayor was blogging on the all the reasons it had to happen, Andrew was the same, today no need, simple? I wonder if any justifying “thinking alouds” or letters to the editor are being filed for another day?

So what caused the sudden withdrawal of the request for investment?

Hopefully investors are coming to buy up the existing apartments needed to kick start their project?

Perhaps all the attention was unsettling the investors?

I hope it gets up and running, I just don’t believe the city should be the financial investor to make it happen.

What I find quite amusing is people who I hear openly criticise the State Government for doing what the council was proposing but its ok for COF to do it, the hypocrisy is amazing, god politics sucks?

Another interesting point is how quick it came to full council without passing thru any other level of council to allow for full and open discussion at a couple of levels, to ensure proper transparency? This actual point was raised by a councillor about another agenda item that was before council tonight, all of a sudden it also seemed to skip a level, its issues like this that also make people wonder what’s going on?

Tonight we also saw questions raised at public question time where in regards to the match issue they were;

  • About Sirona being involved in the Match development and why with its business interest it was not noted in the agenda information?
  • Did the COF consider there was any conflict of interest with the situation before them, involving Sirona and whether the city had sort any independent advice on this issue

Answers where pretty much;

  • Everyone knows
  • no issues and no need

So we just sit back wait and keep an eye on the agendas coming through looks like we have to more and more vigilant to what is happening in our city?

BIGGER FREMANTLE DUMPED BY PREMIER BARNETT | Freo’s View

BIGGER FREMANTLE DUMPED BY PREMIER BARNETT | Freo’s View.

 

I don’t know if its all done and dusted yet Roel, still some possibility of shady deals to come.

http://fremantlereform.com/council-cof/fremantle-battle-for-the-burbs-pt-3-minister-leaves-merger-door-open/

Fremantle’s Battle for the Burbs Continues, Could East Freo Be Backdoored?

back-door

So Yesterday Tony Simpson broke his silence on what’s happening on the merger of council’s.

WA Treasurer Mike Nahan “has told a constituent the State Government will formally abandon its council merger process by revoking Governor’s Orders mandating boundary changes.”

The Premier has promised the Council merger details are imminent it’s reported that the Premier hinted we should here today what going on?

But it seems local government reform has not gone away it’s just on the back burner for the moment.

Further LG Minister Tony Simpson said he is still talking about voluntary amalgamations and has offered no timeline on the withdrawal of governor’s order in regards to boundary change? The question now is what do they mean by voluntary are they referring to Council or the electors, is the door still open for councils to go against the will of the electors/residents and do some dodgy back room deal? “The Premier said there’s no forced amalgamations, again is he referring to the voters or the council?

Reported in the ABC, LG Minister Tony Simpson said “He said he remained open to ideas from any councils still interested in pursuing mergers on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s a voluntary process. I’ll have to wait and see to meet with those local governments,” Mr Simpson said.

“Give them the opportunity and offer them that process, and if they need more time, if they’d like to leave it on the table for longer, I’m open to all suggestions about how we move forward.”

So is this an invitation for councils to go around the wishes of their electors and just drive home their own personal agendas by backdoooring the voters? Could Fremantle and East Fremantle councils just do a deal with Simpson on the side?

Interesting times ahead to see where this ends up, a few egos have been crushed in this exercise already will the electors get a backlash from it? It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall of these meetings with Mayors, Ceo’s and the LG Minister.

 

 

 

 

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