Kings Sq, Lots of Questions but No Answers, Fremantle Council Why??


On Roel’s Freoview most recent blog in regards to Kings Sq, Brad writes:

“As I understand it the contested area is the assumptions that were used to reach the outcome we did including a general rates uplift, 20 year timeframe, discounted rate of 5.5% and the value of enhanced Fremantle Council owned assets. If you assume the above then it is clear to see how we reached the stated rate of return and NPV. All of these assumptions were published in the business plan and could have been contested during the advertising period. Council, on the advice of City of Fremantle staff and independent experts was comfortable these assumptions were well justified.”

This post raises questions why is it just repeating the business plans basics this is not the question and certainly does not answer any questions raised?
If all of the assumptions have been published in the Business Plan, perhaps the Mayor could explain to the rate payers and residents, his electors, the ones he is supposedly representing what could still be confidential? The spreadsheet simply takes the assumptions and turns them into cash flows, NPVs and rates of return. In that case, the spreadsheet you think must contain nothing of a confidential nature.

Even if you don’t give us the specifics, just tell us what subject matter is still confidential. It’s not a trick question is it?

The Business Case presented by Leedwell at the 5 November 2012 Council meeting should likewise also contain nothing of a confidential nature. So why can’t we see it?

If there is some crucial piece of information of a confidential nature that has not been included in the Business Plan, and this is the missing key to the puzzle, then it is obviously impossible for rate payers to be able to calculate the NPV and rate of return. How can we make an informed decision, if are not able to have access to all the facts

So, which is it? The Mayor states that it is “clear to see how we reached the stated rate of return and NPV.” In that case, what could possibly be confidential? You cannot have it both ways! All I can see is smoke and mirrors, spin and sleight of hand, good for the Friday markets but not with rate payer’s assets and funds.

As for needing more legal advice, how much more do their need to be able to communicate with the rate payers? Could the Mayor please explain what could possibly have changed since they drafted Mr. Lees now public response, since the Mayor last refused to provide the requested information on the grounds of confidentiality? The answer is obviously “Nothing”. Is this just another attempt for the Mayor to buy more time to avoid answering the questions? is this just a delaying tactic, hoping or maybe knowing that the minister will tick the Business Plan is there box, as he did last time, which still does not answer any of the real questions? It just casts a longer shadow of suspicion.

How long does the Mayor intend to keep up this charade?

Also, is Council perhaps now starting to distance itself from the contents of the Business Plan, by pointing the finger at “advice of City of Fremantle staff and independent experts”. Has the Mayor simply been relying on advice when accepting the NPV and Rate of Return figures, or did he satisfy himself that the figures are correct? Not an ideal time for staff to be on holidays… perhaps a busy week next week. What a waste of everyone’s time, purely because the council isn’t being transparent.

I wonder how much all of this evasive action is costing us the ratepayer, imagine needing legal advice, for a Mayor to tell the electorate what is happening in its own city. Every time you see Law and Order and someone needs a lawyers advice to answer simple a question, what’s that telling US, what goes through your mind?

If there is nothing to hide, answer the questions and provide the spreadsheet and Leedwell Business Case to rate payers. If you don’t, what else are we left to think, obviously the COF must be hiding something?

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.



Concerns over Kings Square raised – Community Newspaper Group

Concerns over Kings Square raised – Community Newspaper Group.

Actual question raised in parliament a little different than how is was portrayed in the article when u read all 5 questions together. See below

(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?

What the article failed to report where all the questions, which brings balance to the question as a whole.

Were the questions looked at the business plan from an “isolation and from a commercial viewpoint” are not really relevant for the questions that are being raised and are not whether the idea for the Business Plan is a good one or not but whether the business plan financials are supported by the documentation that are hidden from view.

I find it amazing that a paper writes a report and has made no real effort to find out what the real questions the resident originally asked of the COF. Isn’t this the main point of the whole issue and why the city of Fremantle has not answered a residents questions over a period of 7 months or so? Also why the Minister for LG hasn’t assisted a resident in getting legitimate questions answered when asked?

If they had read the Mayors thinking allowed piece in the Herald his first statement is that a Mr Lee took the questions to Mr. Tinley, the community news reports a community group spoke to Mr Tinley, which one was it, it appears that Mr Tinley’s reported comment differs from the Mayors?

Further to that the community news has not asked for a comment from the residents who took the issue to Peter Tinley in the first place to add some balance to the story. At the moment it looks like a PR piece for the COF saying it’s all good nothing to see here folks.

You would expect a paper or media source to at least be interested in whether all the facts are being are looked at and released?

A $30,000,000.00 question might be worth looking into and as it stands at the moment none of the questions raised by the resident back in October 2104 have been answered, isn’t that a newsworthy point worth printing. Is the community news even aware of what the original questions that were asked of the COF are? Did the community news ask about such questions if so why didn’t they report on them, as it’s seems the city is happy to Publish an answer on their website to questions no one has seen? Isn’t that strange in its self?

Well let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story.




Roel has raised a good point, the council did indeed respond with a letter or email to Mr. Lee, and it is there for all of us to read.

The REAL QUESTION is did the letter answer his question or was it just a response?

Roel writes,

“In the interest of fairness and balance I am publishing the letter the City of Fremantle sent on December 11 last year to Martin Lee about his concerns about the Kings Square development. There has been quite a bit of debate on this blog and in the media about it, so it is important to get as many facts as possible so we can all make up our own minds about this issue.”

Surely this is an issue that has raised so much attention, many questions and has still not seen one answer from the City of Fremantle. Roel is right we should have as many facts as possible and make up our own minds on this issue.

That said in the name of fairness and balance surely we would read the questions that were asked to generate the response Roel has attached. Only then would you be able to see if the letter attached actually deals with the Questions that where raised. This is quite clear when you read the two the thinking allowed pieces, does the council response answer the questions Mr Lee raised the week before, on a second reading Roel didn’t think so.

So why would this letter be better?

To have real context first you need to know what the questions were, to be able to decide if it answers the questions raised.

Amazing week 3 since this came to public light and we are yet to see even one answer to all the questions raised? Tells a story doesn’t it!

I hope we get to see all the facts Roel, it would a good start for the council to allow public viewing of the minutes and attachments they have kept confidential for years

%d bloggers like this: