Ministers, Fizzle Not Sizzle


Straight up, how lame can a Minister be?

You sort of see why amalgamation flopped in WA, just check out the response he gave to serious concerns by multiple levels of the Fremantle’s rate payers and residents.

First the questions asked by Peter Tinley on behave of the electors of Fremantle, followed by the Ministers for Local Government response.

Question from Tinley to Minister for Local Government

(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?

Answered on 5 May 2015 By Minister for Local Government

(1) Yes, I have received correspondence from the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association on this matter.
(2) No, theLocal Government Act 1995confers limited powers and authority for me to intervene or direct a local government in the performance of functions it is legally entitled and empowered to undertake.
(3) No
(a) Not applicable
(b) See answer to question 2 above
(4)(a)-(b) My Department of Local Government and Communities has not undertaken any analysis of the financial assumptions in the plan.
(5) The principal consideration for me, as Minister for Local Government, is whether the City has acted contrary to the Local Government Act 1995in its handling of the matter. The materials that have been forwarded to me do not demonstrate that the City has acted unlawfully or in a manner that is contrary to the Act.

My comments on minister responses

  1. The Minister has no comments on FRRA concerns or questions and it seems he has no interest in taking any action, not even having a look, seems too much to ask, to look into FFRA concern of $45 million dollars of ratepayers assets and/or funds, why is he not interested in FRRA concerns, why would he not seek the truth?
  2. A simple no, FRRA was not asking the minister, to stop the project or change it, just to have the City of Fremantle to answer simple questions that had been asked, pretty simple right? So a minister, who’s fiduciary duty is to oversee the portfolio of Local Government, it appears that simple questions are beyond the ability or scope of said Minister, imagine being a minister of a department that doesn’t have ability to ask questions of what it overseas? Classic? Bad enough a council ignores ratepayers questions now a minister who’s not even able to ask why they didn’t answer the questions asked?
  3. No, amazing a $30,000,000.00 question, the minister is not even interested in looking at the issue, just recently it was reported that “A spokeswoman for Mr Simpson said the proposal to extend the Auditor-General’s role to local government had merit and he would recommend it to the Government.”

So in one breath the minister wants the AG to have oversight for local government, in the next he is not even interested in looking at $30,000,000.00, questions raised to his office in regards to a business plan made by the COF, maybe if it’s the AG doing the heavy lifting its ok but  not but such a great idea when the ministers got to carry the load?

  1. No again, why would the minister’s office not have done any analysis on this issue especially when the question were laid out on a plate for them? Are they worried about what they will find, if everything was hunky dory, why not look and say nothing to see here folks? Now if he doesn’t even want to look that sounds pretty worrying, doesn’t it, are they worried what they will find? Is this a Pandora’s Box?
  2. Well it seems the minister is taking a leaf out the city of Fremantle’s book here and answered a question that was not asked, read the question, then his answer, seriously, I expect spin or distraction from COF but now the minister too?

Side bar I note that the minister and the City of Fremantle had their responses go public on the same day, must be a coincidence, right?


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