In what is becoming an increasingly manipulative situation over just how necessary it is to fund the Willetton Basketball Association’s wish-list stadium expansion, this anonymous text message (believed to be from a pre-paid sim) was sent to a number of Canning Councillors today, as they consider adopting the 2016/17 budget tonight.
This bullshit has to stop, and it should be stopped TONIGHT by Council.
Yet two of the most powerful Liberal figures in the state need it to go through, so what happens now?
There’s little doubt that State and Federal Liberal politicians, their staff and cronies – some of whom are now on the City of Canning Council – are falling over themselves to support the Willetton Basketball Association (WBA) – because they actually believe there are real votes here.
But the Association’s own membership figures don’t support that. What part of the-vast-majority-of-Willetton-Basketball-Association’s-members-don’t-live-in,-nor-near-the-City-of-Canning is not able to be understood?
And Ben Morton, bidding for Tangney? Not that many live within your seat’s boundaries, either.
The links to Canning’s ratepayers are far less than should qualify for US to have to pony up millions in concert with the state and federal govt to fund everything from new courts to commercial spaces the WBA can lease for profit to its heart’s content (if it has its way there as well).
All of this could become redundant in as little as 7 years, as Canning looks to its new $110m state-of-the-art sports complex in Canning Vale, where new rail will go, where the population is going, where new young and talented people like Matt Keogh will likely win a federal seat (Burt) and push to make sure it all happens.
But now, jeez, I feel sorry for both Council and Canning.
We’ve got the WA Liberal Party’s former state director, Ben Morton, bidding for the seat of Tangney – and he’s just taken out a full-page, full colour, back cover ad in The Canning Times to fall over himself about an association he’s too easily believed the metrics over – given his federal seat seems to cover the areas of limited association to Canning residency, and not where the majority of the players seem to be living.
Then he dragged Scott Morrison, our Federal Treasurer, to the party. For a basketball club?
We’ve got Mike Nahan, Riverton MP and State Treasurer,
who promised the WBA millions for new courts in 2013, right after he finished banging away at the former Council of Canning in what I can only presume was a bid to retain a seat he only held by 60 something votes – but the money never appeared to my knowledge, and now’s he gonna have to do something (even though the Barnett Govt’s budget’s been handed down).
CORRECTION 22/6/16: It was in fact Hannah Beazley, WA Labor’s candidate for the seat of Riverton in 2013, who offered to fund the WBA $3m, as part of her election pledges. The WBA seemed to feel this amount would meet needs at that point. Mr Nahan was reported, in this article, as saying the money could not be funded as Labor intended, and indicated $10m would be needed from the State and the City of Canning.
The WBA’s expansion bid requires co-contributions from the Council, State and Federal Govts. Here is what appears to be transpiring now:-
In April 2016 Deputy Mayor Holland put forward a motion to Council to support the WBA’s expansion, stating “…for the State Government to consider a dollar for dollar funding with the City, it must go through its processes which must be in line with the State budgetary process which as I understand it is usually presented in May each calendar year”.
Ordinary Council Meeting Agenda, City of Canning, 21 June 2016
If that is the case at state level, this opportunity appears to have passed for the 2016 year.
Two days ago, the following article appeared, indicating the National Stronger Regions Fund – that which the WBA hoped would fund the majority amount of its expansion – would be rebadged if the Turnbull Govt was returned on 2 July, and “would only be open to regional, rural and remote Australia, and also include opportunities for small community and volunteer groups”.
Was any person, politician or agency involved in this funding process aware this is to be the case?
I thought our state was broke and needed to get real about what money went where. This is what both our state and federal Treasurers want to throw money at?
But Nahan needs to get back in again, as the Barnett Govt is getting publicly weaker per day, in amongst news passed to me earlier today (sorry, buddy, but if what you say is true….) that two formidable candidates are now being chosen amongst by WA Labor to run against him.
Our local newspapers frequently flog the WBA over hundreds of other clubs in Canning, it never stops, but tonight it should – finally, someone should draw breath and just get a grip on this whole WBA thing.
The financial case for an expansion of WBA’s facilities is just not strong enough, more to the point, we just don’t know enough.
Just how much economic benefit is being brought in by these 3,500 members? Quantify please, and then tell us how that will improve for the $$$ demanded (and WBA does demand and demand).
It seems the WBA itself doesn’t even have the money it promised to contribute – it was supposed to contribute $1m but with only months to go they apparently only have $650,000. Who’s going to make up the shortfall?
Then, apparently, and easily, Mike Nahan will pull millions more out of nowhere in a cash-strapped state, and Ben Morton has promised to get the rest from the Feds. Somehow.
….As a junior member of a federal govt that not even Alannah MacTiernan could crack influence with, at the Labor end?
On top of all of that, the Directors of Canning are trying to push a budget through six days before their new boss is to start (Arthur Kyron), where a contingency of millions will be bid for, at last minute, by long-time Nahan crony, new Councillor, long time former council critic and new Deputy Mayor Lindsay Holland tonight, in his delayed motion to splash the cash on this still little known about and untested bid.
Throw in our new Mayor, Paul Ng’s seemingly automatic support (he who met privately with Nahan on this) and Nahan’s research officer and new councillor, Ben Kunze, at a minimum – the hapless ratepayers of Canning only need to see three more far too easily convinced (or star-struck by Liberals) councillors vote for it and this concerning amount of money for a basketball club, over all other sporting clubs in Canning, may just get the dosh.
I will be particularly interested to see if Tim Porter and Margaret Hall, the Councillors for Nicholson Ward now infamous for not even living there, nor having any intention thereof, put in a bid to support THEIR residents tonight and save the money for the new state-of-the-art Canning Vale complex.
Come on Councillors! We’ve been waiting a long time for you! How about a New Council, New CEO and New Budget – integrated as one tonight by being held over until more investigations and experienced new Chief Kyron is onboard – and let’s see a New Canning finally emerge from the old.