6PR: City of Canning out of control on rates

Update: Deputy Mayor Christine Cunningham readies to leave as concerns about Canning’s management, five years on from investigations, grows. Apparently, she’s happy to go in to politics.

On 15 August 2019 Canning’s Council was asked to pass a VERY overdue budget.  Suddenly things began to go south – and 6PR kicked Canning’s ass (again).

Audio below but first what appears to have happened along the way to Canning’s public slapping –

  • Before council voted through the budget CEO Arthur Kyron played a video boasting $29m more in spending than was apparent the council agreed to.
  • What council did approve was a 117m budget – with a deficit of 2.5m
  • Was the $29m simply left over from projects never completed last year?  Why, then, did rates need to rise this year?
  • Multiple councillors late, absent or away during budget meeting. Many want to be your next Mayor (see head shots below)
  • Only one councillor, Mayoral candidate Graham Barry, spoke strongly of concerns at financial pressures building on the community.
  • How many budget workshops did the council have with its complex, hugely staffed local government administration?  Only six over a year.

No explanation has been given for these seemingly bizarre budget machinations, but two things have been teased out.

6PR’s morning show host, Gareth Parker, took only minutes to realise that those who could least afford it had their rates jacked up 6.5%.

Then came realisation that Canning had moved nearly 2,200  properties down to the minimum rateable level, at the same time it jacked those rates up by 6.5%, and in so doing raked in an additional $2.3m.

More than half of the council of Canning now want your vote for Mayor.  So, who was at that key council meeting, who wasn’t, who said something in defence of the community and who didn’t?

Mayoral candidate Graham Barry did not vote for budget. Was concerned City moved ahead of Valuer General reassessing Gross Rental Values of homes, which helps determine rates. Believes City had capacity to bring in lower rate rise if it had done additional modelling or more planning. Spoke of pressures on the community now and those rearing up in the world around us.

Mayoral candidate Yaso Ponnuthurai voted for budget.  Believes rate rise is “extremely reasonable”.

Current Mayor (seeking re-election) Paul Ng voted for budget.


Mayoral candidate Patrick Hall usually the loudest and longest commenter at council meetings – did not utter a word. Voted for budget.

Mayoral candidate Margaret Hall rarely speaks formatively at council meetings. Did not on this occasion.  Voted for budget.

Mayoral candidate Jesse Jacobs : ABSENT FROM MEETING. 


Deputy Mayor Christine Cunningham:  STUCK IN TRAFFIC. Ironically, Greens party member Cunningham was stuck in her car, in traffic, on the freeway and arrived very late for proceedings. Voted for budget.

Mayoral Candidate Lindsay Holland – On Authorised Leave. It should be noted that had Canning’s budget been passed in a more reasonable time frame, Cr Holland would have been in attendance.

Seeking re-election for Bannister Ward, Councillor Ben Kunze (electorate office staff of former Treasurer, and Riverton MP, Mike Nahan) expressed initial reluctance, but voted through budget, feeling it was reasonable as the public had made “little [comment]” about what had been advertised about the budget.

Until our elected members officially answer questions arising from this awkwardly structured budget (or CEO Kyron does – as opposed to officers two levels below doing the heavy lifting at council meetings) then Canning’s administration, and most of its current council looks increasingly out of touch with residents.

Posted as part of Fact Check on Canning Councillors.

Declaration: I do not intend to run for council.

Content authorised by Diana Ryan (Silent Elector, Bentley)


4 thoughts on “6PR: City of Canning out of control on rates

    1. Well, one of the Liberal Party members, and Mike Nahan staffer, Ben Kunze said he wasn’t particularly happy about it, but wouldn’t undermine the budget’s use of rates as main revenue plank (words to that effect) by saying anything further on it. He added, during the budget meeting, that given the public had not made much comment about the changes proposed in rates (either)…. in hindsight, I personally think to repeat that comment now would be ludicruous. How is the community to know about [the extent of implications and odd comings and goings of money] unless their reps make it as explicit as possible for them? I find it particularly annoying to see fmr Vincent Mayor, John Carey, patting the departing Greens party Deputy Mayor Christine Cunningham on her Like, if you follow, because she indicated that the community were being consulted on budget items, which fed in to budget workshops. Yay, said Carey. But that he knew how glib it all turned out to be. Cheers!


      1. Another Council under the control of the administration. Councillors saying that they are not happy but then voting in favour of a rate increase obviously do not grasp the fact that this is their (the Councils) budget and it is their job (Councillor) to represent the ratepayers. If they want to work for the CEO then they need only apply for a job. If they want to work for ratepayers then stand for election. Simple concept.


      2. Well put. It’s not my perception councillors at Canning exist under any threat, so to speak, that CEO Arthur Kyron will report them to the Local Govt Standards Panel (as occurs elsewhere, of course), so I’m at a loss to understand the incredible weakness shown by virtually all councillors in the face of this much moved about CEO’s growing power.


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