Council Reform: Commissioners of No Relevance?

Commissioner Reynolds blames council for loss of Canning

Bull – Shit

6PR interviews CanningAccountability’s Diana Ryan 02/08/13
“We’ll watch [what happens] very closely” – Paul Murray

Piece, The West Australian, 12/8/13
“Canning’s residents forgotten in Councils’ carve up” – extract

Commissioner.  A lot more impressive-sounding than acting, it would seem.

In Canning’s case, the City of Gosnells could end up taking that to the bank (or the Barnett Government).

The decision of the Commissioner of the City of Canning, Linton Reynolds, to immediately blame its suspended Council for the loss of 40% of Canning’s lands, on his watch, is the point where his credibility as an elder statesman of local government collapsed in the eyes of CanningAccountability.

It is a particularly ludicrous statement in that you’d be hard put to find any metropolitan Council in a clap happy relationship with the State Govt at the best of times, let alone during the reform process.

It wasn’t just a 40% loss in terms of land, assets and potentially the staff parked on them, but that they were parcelled off to three different, and newly created, neighbouring Councils – with Canning receiving nothing in return.

The City of Canning has been broken apart for the benefit of the mergers of Melville/Fremantle/East Fremantle, South Perth/Victoria Park and Belmont/Kalamunda.

Worse, the City of Canning had previously been considered a Strategic Activity Centre, a centre of regional importance, in the Barnett Govt’s Directions 2031 and Beyond city plan.

Now, the City of Gosnells, the much-reduced City of Canning’s merger partner, appears the stronger, with intact lands and a democratically elected Council.

For all the attempts to look in control, the “productive meetings held” rhetoric that will hold forth from here on in at what is left of the City of Canning, public trust has been affected – including in that of the Barnett Govt.

Based on what has happened at Canning, including the Commissioner’s unwillingness to appoint an Advisory Panel of Community Members, as  occurred before in a time of Council suspension, how can anyone have any confidence in the independence of state-appointed Commissioners, or in whose interests they serve?

Many things could have been handled better, including bringing the public in as their Council was pushed out.

Minister for Local Government, Tony Simpson, has just issued the latest Metropolitan Local Government Reform Update, dangling the possibility of appointing more Commissioners to Councils it considers recalcitrant in the face of merger options as presented.

Here then are some of the experiences of the City, residents and ratepayers of Canning, under a state-appointed Commissioner.


Quote box at top reproduced from Canning Times – North, Page 3 of August 6, 2013 issue, Community Newspapers

2 thoughts on “Council Reform: Commissioners of No Relevance?

Comments are closed.