UPDATE: Commissioner Steven Cole’s budget statement, as Canning’s true financial situation is put on record, HERE
Chairman of Canning Commissioners, Steven Cole, issued a stern statement about Canning, its finances, and what a new council should do through the local papers yesterday. He also told entities who pose questions the City doesn’t like that “this must stop”.
Unfortunately we can’t bring that statement to you because the City has not released it otherwise.
Trying to get answers out of CEO Lyn Russell today was to be informed the City was too busy working to return Canning to democracy – how busy does that need to be, exactly? Is this what Inquirer Dr Christopher Kendall tried to warn us about: “Whether [changes made under administration] translate readily to a returned Council will have to be seen”?
In the absence of elected representatives, we can only go by what we see, and what we can get answers to. Mike Nahan, Member for Riverton and Treasurer, also operates from what he is able to analyse, and this is what he has to say about Canning’s latest budget:
Dr Mike Nahan MLA
Member for Riverton
Thursday 2nd July 2015
Canning budget hits ratepayers
State Member for Riverton, Dr Mike Nahan has called upon the City of Canning to explain itself after announcing a significant 8.49% rate rise as part of its 2015/16 budget.
In comparison, Melville Council residents will face a modest 3.75% rate rise, while residents in the City of Gosnells will see their general rates increase by 2.99%.
Dr Nahan said the 8.49% rate rise was indefensible given the City’s recent campaign claiming that the City was in a strong financial position.
“In light of modest rate rises in neighbouring councils, Canning ratepayers would have been expecting similar sized rate increases, not the 8.49% that the City has announced,” Dr Nahan said.
“Residents paying the minimum rate have not been spared, with a 9.9% increase to$683. The minimum rate has now increased 39.1% during the past four years alone.
“The 8.49% increase means general rates have increased by a whopping 22.2% in the past three years, which is extraordinary given Canning has recently conducted an expensive advertising campaign claiming that the City is financially strong.”
During the recent Fight for Canning campaign, the City stated that it is financially sustainable, provides the lowest rates in Perth, and that if abolished, residents would face significant rate increases.
Dr Nahan said that the City’s finances had deteriorated in recent years after numerous questionable decisions and now ratepayers were paying the price.
“Canning has increased its rateable income by over 10% in this budget alone, meaning the City will receive $4,846,712 in additional revenue to cover its ballooning expenditure,” he said.
“Canning employees received an enormous 13.2% pay increase over 18 months in the latest Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA), which has meant that Canning spent more in wages in 14/15 than it collected in rates.
“This budget has clearly exposed the true state of Canning’s finances. It is simply unsustainable for a local government to spend more on staff wages than it collects in rates. Residents have been slugged this rate increase to pay for these large salary increases.
“With a new EBA currently under negotiation, I expect the City to produce a more financially responsible outcome for ratepayers; however following the latest EBA, I fear for the interests of ratepayers.
“The City of Canning should be in a far better position given its large commercial rate base – the envy of neighbouring councils, which makes the City’s current financial position inexcusable.
“Now more than ever, Canning needs quality local representatives to stand in October’s Council elections to help direct the City back to a sustainable position. It is also very important that residents participate and vote for their local representatives.”
Council elections will be held on October 17, giving ratepayers the opportunity to vote for their Council representatives.
Media Contact: Dr Mike Nahan MLA
Image by drunken_duck https://openclipart.org/user-detail/drunken_duck and sourced at Open Clip Art https://openclipart.org/detail/4208/8ball-with-flames. Licence: CC0 1.0 Public Domain