Freo's View


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government by freoview on December 12, 2016

The annual Electors Meeting of the City of Fremantle was an interesting one with public questions about the financial report and assets sales by concerned members of Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association and the Fremantle Society who are worried about the financial health of Fremantle.

There was also strong public support for the One Day in Fremantle event on January 28 next year.

The Electors Meeting became farcical though when Claudia Green for FRRA and FS put a motion of no confidence in Council, arguing that because the elected members only received votes from the wards they get voted by they do not represent the Fremantle people.

This is not a City of Fremantle issue but should be addressed with the State Government and the Minister for Local Government, as at present the democratic process for the Fremantle local government is that two people per ward get elected on council. If community groups want to change that they need to lobby the State Government.

The FRRA/FS spokes person also claimed the two groups represented many people, without giving evidence of the number of people who have signed up with them. I doubt the combined numbers of FRRA and FS would be anywhere near the combined number of votes Fremantle councillors received at elections. An indication of that is that FRRA and FS did not even manage to get enough people in the public gallery to support the two motions they put up and were both defeated.

Fact is that just about 30% of eligible voters vote at local council elections, so that is the challenge community groups should be addressing, instead of making unsubstantiated claims that they represent a majority.

In general I do agree though that community consultation needs to be improved by the City of Fremantle, but to question the validity of decisions made by Fremantle Council because supposedly they do not have the numbers to represent the electorate is……, well……., because we are close to Christmas, let’s just call it interesting instead of a much stronger word.

Roel Loopers

5 Responses

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  1. Douglas Thompson said, on December 14, 2016 at 7:55 am

    I agree with your comments Roel on the meeting. And Andrew makes a good point about FRRA. For a group that seeks to represent the views of “all residents and ratepayers” – hence I presume the name – it seems to be rather difficult to join from what I hear. Fremantle Society in comparison, is easy to join and be a part of.

  2. Andrew Priest (Aushiker) said, on December 13, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    With respect to the so called “Fremantle Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association” at least they are hardly from what I can gather representative of the Fremantle community and in no one have any right in my view to speak on my behalf, net alone the community.

    That said I did find a Facebook page of sorts for them with a whooping seven likes … very representative indeed.

    I have yet to still find any means of actually engaging with the “Association” or joining it.

    As to the Fremantle Society at least they have a website and interested persons can join.

  3. Clayton Gunning said, on December 13, 2016 at 9:27 am

    The FRRA and FS absolutely embarrassed themselves at last night’s Electors’ Meeting. I am not a member of either organisation but as a registered voter, ratepayer, and active participant in the precinct system I can’t believe that they didn’t reach out beyond their own little network to seek support for their actions or even discuss their concerns (acknowledging letters published in the local newspapers and posts on social media).

    How could they expect a voter to support their motion without even making their “independent” report available prior?

    Their claim that that represent “many Fremantle electors” and then turn up with ten people to support a motion of no confidence is amateurish and reflects poorly on their claims that the Ward system isn’t representative. How can Council be blamed for people not voting? These people represent themselves and no one else.

    My advice to FRRA and the FS. Get off your ass and out of your own comfort zone, get out and meet other residents, door knock and have the conversation one on one with Electors and get them to support your candidates at the next Council elections who share your vision and values.

    With such a low voter turnout this is much easier than in an election that has high voter turnout and many already aligned to candidates and parties/groups.

  4. john Dowson said, on December 12, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    The Fremantle Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association and the Fremantle Society put forward two motions tonight at the annual Electors’ meeting. You misreported our actions and the various reasons given for the motions. The two motions were: (Motion One)

    “The Fremantle Resident’ and Ratepayers’ Association Incorporated, and the Fremantle Society Incorporated, who together represent many Fremantle Electors express no confidence in the current capacity of Council or the City, to manage and administer the City of Fremantle.

    The financial analysis provided by the City’s Auditors suggests that the city’s assets may be deteriorating at a greater rate than spending or renewal or replacement. It states that the City’s ability to service debt out of its uncommitted or general purpose funds available from its operations, is limited and declining.

    Planning and financial decisions taken over the last few years have adversely affected elector amenity, elector financial interests, without proper community consultation or due diligence.”

    The second motion was:

    “The Fremantle Resident’s and Ratepayers’ Association Incorporated, and the Fremantle Society Incorporated, who together represent many Fremantle Electors, move to not accept the financial report given the omission of key information surrounding asset renewal investment. The outcome of this report suggests a suboptimal outcome for the people of Fremantle with the performance of Fremantle being assessed as below the industry benchmark.”

    Our groups commissioned a practising senior accountant to examine the council finances. It was he who alerted us to some of the serious financial issues we raised.

  5. Ian Ker said, on December 12, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Some Councils (eg City of Perth) do not have wards, which is an option under the Local Government Act – all councillors are elected by the whole community – or at least those who bother to vote.
    If the Government and the Local Government Advisory Board had had their way in 2014, metropolitan local governments would be twice the size and would not have wards. As many pointed out during the local government so-called reform process, this would reduce the ‘local’ in local government in that no elected member would have a particular interest in any part of the council area. In other words, as a resident or ratepayer you do not have an elected member to represent your local interests in the context of the local government as a whole.
    This also makes it easier for political parties and other organised interests to hold sway in local government elections as it becomes more expensive to run an election campaign for, in Fremantle’s case, six times the area/population of the current average ward.

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