Freo's View

WILL LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM CREATE BETTER COUNCILLORS?

Posted in city of fremantle, council reform, councils, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 28, 2019

 

Landmark local government reforms passed by State Parliament will bring councils into the 21st century as the first reforms resulting from the Local Government Act review. But will the new WA Local Government Reform create better Councillors through inductions and training?

I have been amazed for many years that many of those who nominate for a position on local council do not even bother to do the basic homework of attending Council and Committee meetings, so when elected they come in unprepared and for some of them it takes very long to understand local government process, so let’s hope the reform will improve the level of local governance we are getting.

These reforms target key priority areas identified by the community and local government sector to better prepare council members for their challenging role, strengthen governance, empower councils to communicate with residents using modern technology and expand the amount of information available to the public online.

Commencing at the 2019 ordinary local government elections in October, all candidates will be required to have completed an online induction. This free, online module will be available on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ website in July.

Building the capacity of council members further, all council members will be required to complete a training program following their election covering key areas such as conflicts of interest, understanding financial reports and budgets, and serving on council.

Reforms will also:

  • Improve standards of behaviour through a mandatory code of conduct for council members and candidates;
  • Introduce new standards for CEO recruitment and performance management to help elected members select a CEO and assess their performance;
  • Provide clarity for elected members to manage real and perceived conflicts of interest related to gifts; and
  • Require local governments to publish information on their website such as local laws, approved council policies and all documents contained within a meeting agenda allowing instant access to council information for everyone 24/7.

 

Roel Loopers

 

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FREMANTLE EAST FREMANTLE MERGER TALKS

 

The City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle have started secret negotiations about a possible amalgamation of the two local councils.

East Fremantle residents rejected the proposed amalgamation during the Colin Barnett government local government reform process, which failed.

East Freo residents only succeeded stopping the merger because people in favour of it also voted, and hence they reached the required 50% of eligible voters minimum. Had pro amalgamation people not voted the merger would have gone ahead.

I hear that East Freo Deputy Mayor Michael McPhail, who was pro merger from the beginning, initiated the secret talks.

This is very interesting news and would make a lot of sense in my opinion, so let’s hope both councils can agree on the details.

It is timely also to receive a media release from the City of Fremantle today that Fremantle will create its own time zone and introduce daylight saving time next summer

Mayor Brad Pettitt said

Fremantle changing the time within its municipal boundaries to daylight savings time will reduce the time difference to two hours and give our businesses a competitive advantage compared to their counterparts around WA.”

 Mayor Pettitt acknowledged the decision may generate some controversy as people will need to adjust to Freo Time as they come and go. But he was confident the benefits would far outweigh any potential inconvenience.

 Residents and visitors alike will have longer evenings to enjoy our great beaches, café and bars,” he said.

 Digital screens will display Freo Time on all major entry points into Fremantle while the City’s parking officers will also assist people to adjust their watches. Clocks displayed in public places will be adjusted to Freo Time.

Bob Dylan was right many decades ago that the times they are changing.

Roel Loopers

DON’T GAG LOCAL COUNCILLORS FROM BEING TRANSPARENT

 

The alleged attempts to silence local councillors and stop them from commenting on social media raise serious concerns about our democracy, although Fremantle councillors are very-almost too- restraint in their use of social media to publish facts to combat the often ridiculous and uninformed comments made by members of the public.

While I understand that Mayors should be the official spokespeople for local councils, it should not stop the other elected members from participating in social media. They are after all our local parliament, so gagging them is like denying a state or federal minister from commenting, because the PM and Premiers are the official spokespeople.

Our Fremantle councillors comment now and then on Facebook and Freo Massive but rarely here on Freo’s View, unless it is local government election time and they want another four years, so they us this platform to increase their public profile. It might well be Fremantle Council policy that only the Mayor can comment on this blog.

I believe the Fremantle community would welcome more engagement on social media with their councillors, as it helps transparency and to clarify issues people might not understand or are not well enough informed about. One should not just leave that to the Mayor and the City of Fremantle’s media people.

It is definitely not up to our State Government to dictate how the elected local members communicate with their community and sensor or gag our councillors. We elected them to govern our city and they are accountable to explain to us why and how.

Roel Loopers

 

 

Roel Loopers

COUNCIL AMALGAMATIONS IN JEOPARDY

Posted in amalgamations, council reform, fremantle, local government by freoview on January 29, 2015

It is not over till the fat lady sings! The WA State Government push for local government reform and council amalgamations is in jeopardy with the latest figures showing a very high percentage of residents voting in the Dadour Act election that can stop the proposed amalgamations.

38.77 % of East Fremantle residents have up to now lodged a postal vote and one can assume most of these will be No votes and against amalgamating the Town of East Fremantle with the City of Fremantle.

A bit further South the City of Cockburn residents don’t seem to be bothered about the proposed amalgamation with the Town of Kwinana but a whopping 44.41% of Kwinana residents have put their votes in, so this is getting extremely close to the required 50 percent of residents to vote to make the vote count. The act requires that 50 % of voters vote against amalgamation and that 50 % of eligible residents take part in the vote to make it valid.

I would be disappointed if Freo and East Freo did not amalgamate. I believe amalgamation is a good step forward to a bigger and more powerful council with new Councillors and a new administration and more money to spend. The paranoia that the present- and by many considered inept-Fremantle Council would run the enlarged new City of Fremantle is wrong as there will be an all new council after elections in either October this year or February 2016, so Fremantle Council will see a big change with new Councillors hopefully bringing new perspectives and visions.

Roel Loopers

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