Does Fremantle Have Good Governance

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I saw an interesting interview on the 730 Report the other day. It was with Tony Fitzgerald.

This was the man who headed the crime and corruption commission in QLD, some 25 yrs ago. While of course his commission looked into many issues, he has raise 4 simple principles of accountability and good governance in the interview.

  1. To govern for peace and good order of their electors,  district or state.
  2. Treat all people equally with no privileged  access.
  3. To make decisions in the best interest of the district or state & not by reference to personal considerations or considerations favouring contacts and so forth.
  4. To keep people properly informed, accurately informed and as promptly as possible in relation to all matters of public interest or potential controversy.

Now these principles can be applied I think to all levels of government

He further spoke about the public expectations declining in reference to these basic principles due to the elected members have ignored their electors for so long. These principles are the basis of what representative democracy is or stands for. Its where the elected members are elected to represented and govern on behalf of its people. Not run their own ideology and special interest groups.

You should watch the video on the link or read the transcript. Its quite interesting quite relevant what he is saying which is based around the upcoming Qld election. These principle I think apply equally to local council.

The various individuals/groups, who have spoken  @ council this last couple of years should read the principles above and see how they where applied to their situations. Do they think the they  have been the recipients of the good governance?

Its not just a matter of what you  do or don’t like but whether a proper procedure has been truly followed, that does not mean a box ticking exercise, but good governance in the spirit those rules are intend to applied. This is the question to judge our elected members by?

A good comparison is the outcome of Burt St and McCabe St, this week at full council. One was deferred for more reports to be finalized. For me I don’t think it will help the outcome, but good to see they have a window of hope. Interestingly that night we heard current councillors speak of ex-Freo councillors involved in the process of speaking out for the deferral, due to the knowledge of council process , experience, etc they understand he said. So did that help them get a deferral, Now the Burt St group presented a strong sensible argument for not going ahead with R160. Yet theirs had no stay of execution, perhaps if they had had East Freo councillors talk on their behalf or an ex-Freo councillor on their side, could it have changed the result? So it brings me back to the 4 points of good governance mentioned above, did both groups get the same fair go?

Refer to the written submissions for and against the rezoning of Burt St, submitted to council, 2 private citizens for, 47 against, is the outcome fair representation?

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We saw this in 2029 report, $90,000+ for we know best?

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4 comments

  1. freoishome says:

    How well does East Fremantle fair? That is a rhetorical question. I’m asking because East Freo Council has had many ups and downs over the 25+ years I have lived in the area, with some very public Mayor bashing. I don’t know about EF but I seem to recall that Melville was tied up with the 2007 financial crisis, ie, lost a few million in foreign investments. Cockburn has been constantly in the news about freedom of speech of its councillors and other inter councillor behaviour.

    I support the need for Councils, very much including CoF, be much more representative of ratepayer submissions and public questions.
    I’m thinking about the type of criteria we need to ensure that is improved. The outline of it seems to be framed along the lines, that current owners are the custodians of local amenity and hence their opinions must be taken seriously and obviously into account. When a broader revisions of plans, eg, rezoning of suburbs and streets occurs, then it is likely that the Council will need to exercise power to override the local opinion in favour of the broader scheme or revised zoning.
    Paul

    • Mark says:

      Paul I’m sure that your last statement or sentence was one that sort of goes against the spirit of representation that the elector can expect, actual representation, also provides a ground for “they know whats best for us poor mortals.” If you haven’t already, go back and look at public submissions over the last couple of years, i believe the term is record setting.
      Then see the sheer volume of submissions against an idea, but council still goes against the massive public will.
      J-shed for instance, residents complained in the final summary of public submissions, that their submissions where omitted, signed petitions where counted as one vote,if they hadn’t shown up for meeting these facts would have gone unnoticed. I was not far from where councillor Massie sat, where i heard him snap “same story over & over again”.
      FB comments were counted as local submissions in favour of “that B shed thing”. These coming from as far out as Broome, held the same weight as a petition from 20 + locals residents. Shows what real respect the council has for real electors opinions.
      If you want to compare councils, lets compare Cockburn today. Its clear where investors would rather place their money. Compare services for seniors and see who comes out better off. Lets compare Melville today, which residents get a better service from thier council, Fremantle or Melville? Brad loves to talk about his almost $100,000,000.00 budget, that’s with 26,000+ residents, Melvilles budget is in the $130,000,000.00+ budget for 3 times as many residents, yet compare the amenity and service they get compared to ours???? Where does the money go?
      Compare the Melville or Cockburn wage cost with Freo’s in relation to number of residents??
      Do u think the 2029 report costing $90,000 was good value???
      Go and check out Melville’s civic centre, we got concrete in a park instead.
      If u are seriously blaming Melville council for being conned by Lehmans, the worlds 4th largest investment bank, for going bankrupt and not seeing that coming then you would be smarter than most of the financial world, thanks to hindsight.
      I understand they support your bike lanes and such, i respect your endeavors to make biking easier or safer/both, a noble cause But lets not kid ourselves, about councils direction?
      I’ve seen beaches in 3rd world countries with fresh running water, that’s a step above what freo supplies, or not?

      • freoishome says:

        Your facts support amalgamation, ie, larger councils can provide better value for money. EF has put off attending to their own asset replacement, but that tactic can’t go on forever, so one is going to have to pay soon! Looks rosy now!

        It was pity you didn’t discuss what I suggested about having some criteria, instead putting words into my mouth, as a response for my thinking out loud!

        I have often written about Stakeholder analysis, eg, should residential ratepayers be higher in the pecking order, or are Fremantle Guests who frequent the entertainment precinct more important, or maybe blow-in developers should get the top billing, etc. What is evident is that CoF has a much broader range of stakeholders to contend with that EF, Melville, or Cockburn because of the entertainment precinct, as well as our port neighbours who CoF also needs to service with thoroughfare and more, for no obvious benefit.

        • Jayne says:

          I would genuinely be interested to find answers to some of these questions. I don’t know if anyone can help – I am hoping there is some transparency in our governance.

          1 How does the Council prioritise stakeholders?
          2 How do they decide “what is good for Fremantle”? Are there some guidelines in place?
          3 As Councillors are voted in by Fremantle residents, are they not then in place to represent voters first and foremost when making decisions – or am I missing something?
          4 Does being a ratepayer hold any weight in decision making over say a tourist or even an organisation such as Notre Dame which doesn’t pay rates?
          5 How does the Council decide which businesses they will assist and which they won’t? For example, one commercial bookshop (which I like by the way) seemed to be greatly assisted with the provision of new and renovated premises, yet many other businesses aren’t helped at all or are even hindered.

          It’s all a bit of a mystery to me so I look forward to being enlightened over time.

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