Canning CEO withholds the public from local govt reform “public information” meeting

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A red barred ring used in a ” no entry” or ” no smoking” sign (Photo credit: Theresa Knott per Wikipedia) GNU Free Documentation Licence CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.00

Canning’s new Chief Executive Officer, Lyn Russell, has failed to provide general public access to the one and only public meeting held to present the City’s position on local government boundary changes before it submits its view to the State.

Instead the “public information meeting”, to be held October 1st,  has been reserved for 200 “stakeholder associations and groups”.

Reason?  Apparently only 200 people can fit in the room chosen for the event….

Ms Russell declined to provide the list of invitees, when contacted by CanningAccountability.

The folly of this is the rest of Canning can’t even contact the privileged few who will be on hand to hear the City’s briefing on its submission to the Local Govt Advisory Board, due three days later on October 4th.

Their consolation prize will be that the City’s submission is to be uploaded to its website, on the same night as the public meeting is held.

To add insult to injury, should the public have any concerns at that point, Ms Russell advised they “make their views about our Submission known to the Local Government Advisory Board and to their local elected members over coming months”.

So the rest of us are on our own then?

This lack of consultation, representation, meaningful contact and connection with the community is entirely consistent with Canning Accountability’s recent media appeals to Premier Colin Barnett and Minister for Local Govt, Tony Simpson, here, here and here for an Advisory Panel of Community Members to be brought in, in the absence of a Council, as was done during Canning’s first suspension in the early 90s.

If Commissioner Linton Reynolds had not spoken of the “public information evening”, in an Sept 17th interview with Canning Times, the general public wouldn’t even have known it was being held.

CanningAccountability challenged the City’s decision as to whom qualified for access over others to the meeting, earlier this week, in an email to Ms Lyn Russell, given that:-

  • the City of Canning has only conducted talks with two of its reform partners (Gosnells and South Perth/Vic Park).  No negotiations have yet been held with either City of Melville or Belmont/Kalamunda
  • the merger with Gosnells will affect all remaining residents, regardless of their stakeholding or community group memberships
  • the City appears to be bidding to remain as a stand-alone Council and therefore untouched by any other, and
  • any negotiations and outcomes are a long way from conclusive.

There appears no real reason why any sector of Canning’s society should have privileged access over others to a briefing on the City’s submission to the State, or access to Ms Russell and her team.

All that is needed is a bigger room.

7 thoughts on “Canning CEO withholds the public from local govt reform “public information” meeting

  1. If Ms Russell advised to make our views known to “their local elected members”, then I am wanting to know what local government she works for? I think she may be missing something here. No ratepayers in the City of Canning knows what is going to happen because of all the secrecy surrounding this submission. I would be surprised if any comments from these “stakeholders/community groups” will be taken into account, considering the submission is due three days later. My bet it is already written with only the opinions and wants of a very select few.


    1. Agreed, Megan. There is also the reality that the City of Canning hasn’t even held meetings with 2 of its 4 boundary reform partners (Melville and Belmont). That would have crimped the information session somewhat.


  2. I requested an invite and have received one as an individual. The meeting is at 6 pm at the Civic Function Room, Main Admin building, 1317 Albany Hwy.


    1. Gordon, you’re the man! I’d keep that invite and auction it on eBay if I were you! The meeting was not, in fact, a “public” meeting, involving advertising it to the public, so any interested parties (essentially anyone currently in/substantively associated with the City of Canning) could nominate to come along and be briefed, as they should have been entitled to. It was only made available by invitation, which again was not made known to the general public. At the last minute, it seems, the City of Canning placed an advertisement in today’s (Tuesday’s) Canning Times. I doubt many would have seen this, or seen this in reasonable time to attend later in the day at 6pm. PS: Gordon, I have loaded Letters to Editor on as a new page for the website (see top bar). Perhaps you might comment on what you experienced at the briefing, and I will put it up for others to see?


  3. Hello everyone
    A terrific cross section of our community attended last night’s meeting, and we greatly appreciated their many constructive questions and comments. Council’s Reform submission is on our website, along with the powerpoint presentation from last night. Copies are also available in our libraries. Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists, but there is no secrecy here, only a wish to encourage as many people as possible over the coming months to express their views to the State Government about the future of our City.
    A suggestion: why don’t you use this blog to offer constructive ideas about the Reform options?
    Lyn Russell
    CEO, City of Canning


  4. Hi Diana, On Sunday a Dadour group meeting was held in Shenton Park. I was one of the 80 who attend the meeting. I said, The City of Canning residents and ratepayers have NO say or voice about this amalgamation? “Our Mayor and Councillors are suspended !”.
    We under the controlled of a Liberal appointed commissioner and New CEO who came from NSW/QLD and several EX-officers. It seem they are only interested in one thing!., Carving up the City of Canning into 4 pieces?.

    The rights of residents to have a vote on contested local government Amalgamations.


    1. Yes, unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, I do think Canning is fundamentally weakened now. The surrounding Councils know it. Re the Dadour group, I heard Mr Mummery, its Convenor, speak on 6PR yesterday. The reality is we’ll have to wait and see exactly what changes to the Dadour Amendment the State Govt proposes – no-one’s seen the wording yet! I thought, originally, they were going to change it, not wipe it, so the outcome could not be manipulated by a bunch of people from one area, one council, saying no to the merger with another? It also meant the population of a larger council, like Swan, could not beat out its smaller merger partner’s population’s views on whether they wanted to merge or not? Memory is a bit faint now – we need to see that wording! Also, what is the website for the group, do you know? I’ve not been able to find it. Cheers, Garry.


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