Freo's View

FREMANTLE WANTS GST INVESTMENT

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has urged the state government to spend some of WA’s $4.7 billion GST windfall on essential infrastructure in the port city.

Changes to the GST distribution passed by the Senate yesterday will deliver $1.7 billion in top-up payments to WA over three years, and see the state about $4.7 billion better off over the next eight years, and the Freo Mayor wants to see some of that windfall invested in Fremantle.

Fremantle is having an unprecedented level of investment and development, so Mayor Brad Pettitt said  “Over the past few years the state government has invested billions of dollars in the Perth CBD in projects like Elizabeth Quay, Yagan Square and the stadium, and now is the perfect time to invest in Perth’s second city.

“As a local government we’ve done a lot of the ground work with planning and feasibility studies, so there is an ideal opportunity for the government to partner with us to deliver some of these projects that are essential not just for Fremantle but for the entire state.”

Brad Pettitt mentioned the possible redevelopment of land surrounding the Fremantle Passenger Terminal at Victoria Quay and including Fremantle in the early stages of METRONET as key projects requiring government investment.

An independent report Freo City commissioned back in 2016 identified the development of the South Quay precinct would generate 3700 new jobs, attract private investment of $3.5 billion and return almost $1 billion to the state over 20 years.

The Mayor said “We want the government to bring forward the detailed planning for the Fremantle to Murdoch link – be it light rail or trackless trams – to fill the east-west public transport gap until the Fremantle to Cockburn passenger rail link is progressed.

I personally also want the State Government to invest in an Aboriginal Centre in Fremantle so that overseas tourists can enjoy and learn about our Aboriginal culture and history. This is well overdue and should be a priority!

 

Roel Loopers

WA STATE HERITAGE AWARDS NOMINATIONS

 

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Nominations for the Western Australian HERITAGE AWARDS 2019 are now open.

For more information visit: http://www.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/awards

Roel Loopers

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COMPULSORY COUNCIL VOTING ON THE CARDS

Posted in city of fremantle, elections, local government, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 20, 2018

 

The team of Local Government Minister David Templeman has been busy with ideas for reforming the local government act, as I published also earlier this week.

Other ideas have been released that would implement compulsory voting at local council elections, which I believe is a great idea, and also scrapping the first pas the post voting system, which has been manipulated a bit too much for my liking. Election donations for candidates by developers would also no longer be allowed.

Here some more of the proposals, which include that charities would have to start paying council rates, but no mention of religious and educational institutions, which are currently also exempt from paying council rates.

The discussion paper includes these proposals:

  • Introduction of compulsory voting in local government elections, scrapping first-past-the-post voting and replacing it with optional preferential.
  • Spending limits on the campaigns for council candidates, and also banning donations from property developers, the tobacco, liquor, and gambling industries
  •  Removing investment regulations preventing councils sinking ratepayers money into financial instruments not guaranteed by the Commonwealth or state government
  • Councils to secure debt against property rather then only future rates, Permit local governments to guarantee finance for building upgrades for developers and non-residential property owners.
  • Councils to charge higher rates for properties using more services.
  • Abolishing rates exemptions for charities and aged care facilities run by charities,

There is no doubt for me that local government reform is needed and it looks like there are some very good proposals in the discussion paper.

Roel Loopers

HAVE YOUR SAY ON NEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT

 

WA Local government Minister David Templeman has an article in today’s West Australian in which he encourages the community to get involved in the review of the local government act and make suggestions on how we can improve our local councils and administrations.

Here some information from the government website about it:

Phase one: modernising local government

Phase one of the review focuses on four key areas:

  • Meeting community expectations of standards, ethics and performance
  • Meeting public expectations for accountability, including gift disclosures
  • Electronic availability of information
  • Building capacity through introducing administrative efficiencies

Local governments and the community were invited to have their say throughout the consultation period. The phase one discussion paper was released on 8 November 2017 and public consultation closed on 9 March 2018.

Phase two: delivering for communities

​Commencing in 2018, phase two will ensure local governments are positioned to deliver for the community by examining:

  • Elections
  • Community consultation and engagement
  • Integrated Planning and Reporting
  • Financial management
  • Rates and charges
  • Beneficial organisations (council controlled organisations)
  • Local laws
  • Interventions
  • Administrative efficiencies

What you need to know

What is the Local Government Act review?

The Local Government Act review will introduce changes that will modernise the Act and ensure that local governments are positioned to deliver for the community into the future. The review is being undertaken in two phases. The first consultation paper released on 8 November 2017.

Phase two of the review is now underway.

Local government is real grassroots government so we should all take an active part in trying to improve the performance of our elected members and staff, and get greater transparency and better communication, so have your say!

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE LOSES OUT ON $ 2 MILLION IN RATES ANNUALLY

 

When the Western Australian state government complains about the unfairness of the GST distribution, they might want to also have a think about the unfairness to some local governments, like Fremantle, regarding the local council rates exemptions for all kinds of institutions.

It costs the City of Fremantle estimated over $ 2 million annually, which is a big amount for a city with a small ratepayers’ base. We don’t know the exact figures because the Valuer General’s office does not provide councils with property values where there is no need.

But according to City of Fremantle figures we lose out on $ 707,000 from Notre Dame University, $ 210.544 from crown properties, $ 98,992 from places of worship, $ 24,085 from schools/educational, $ 630,819 from charities and $ 54,846 from others/written law/acts.

The above figures are not complete as they do not include the large TAFE site in Beaconsfield and others which are exempt from paying local government rates. The City also does not get rates from Fremantle Ports.

So maybe it is time the State Government compensated affected local councils for state laws that financially disadvantage them considerably.

Roel Loopers

WESTPORT COMMUNITY SESSIONS IN JULY

 

A series of community information sessions will take place throughout July, giving community members an opportunity to learn more about the Westport Strategy.

Westport was established by the McGowan Labor government to establish the best location for a new port once Fremantle Port has reached its capacity.

The six interactive sessions will be held in Fremantle, Kwinana and Bunbury, where community members can drop in to find out more about the land use, transport, environmental and economic issues being considered in the development of the strategy.

The sessions will build on previous feedback provided by the community, which is summarised in the consultation report ‘Westport: What you have told us’.

All feedback received at the sessions will be used to inform the next discussion paper, which will be released for comment later this year.

Once complete, the Westport Strategy will fulfil an election commitment to plan solutions for port and freight related transport issues in Western Australia to meet the needs and expectations of the community and industry into the future.

Details of the location and timing for each information session are available on the Department of Transport’s website at http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/westport

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PROPOSED CHANGES TO WA PLANNING PROCESS

 

The WA Government has released its plans for changes to the planning process, stating that the present process is more about process than it is about quality outcomes.

The discussion paper that is now out for public comment focusses on five areas which I have copied and pasted here for Freo’s View readers:

1. Strategically-led

2. Legible

3. Transparent

4. Efficient

5. Delivering smart growth

  • The State Government, WAPC and local government to collaborate on the planning and delivery of key centres and infill locations and forward planning of infrastructure.
  • Develop a state planning policy focused on delivering consolidated and connected smart growth.
  • Provide for coordinated land use and transport planning of key urban corridors.

Key reform proposals

Make strategic planning the cornerstone of the planning system

  • Local governments to have up-to-date local planning strategies, including one for housing, through which the community has a say in how their neighbourhood will be developed.
  • Make strategic planning for sustainable development the purpose of planning in Western Australia.

Make the planning system easy to access and understand

  • A single concise State Planning Policy framework with common elements for State, regional and local plans and policies.
  • A comprehensive local planning scheme will be available online for each local government including a local planning strategy, the statutory scheme and local planning policies.
  • Reduce red tape by standardising commonly used zones.

Open up the planning system and increase community engagement in planning

  • A Community Engagement Charter with a focus on up-front community involvement in strategic planning.
  • Re-balance Development Assessment Panel processes including recording meetings, providing reasons for decisions, and undertaking more comprehensive investigation and consideration of complex proposals.
  • Local governments to report annually on their planning responsibilities.

Make the planning system well-organised and
more efficient

Refocus the planning system to deliver quality urban infill

  • Revise the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) to include 5-7 specialist members and increase their focus on strategic planning and policy development.
  • WAPC to delegate more statutory matters to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and accredited local governments.
  • Rethink administrative processes that add unnecessary time and cost to approvals processes.

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STATE SUPPORT FOR LOCAL MUSICIANS

 

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I just picked this up on Facebook from WA Premier Mark McGowan, so Fremantle musicians take advantage of it and try to get your fair share of government funding and support!

Roel Loopers

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HIGH STREET UPGRADE COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

 

 

The community consultation by Main Roads about the Fremantle High Street/Stirling Highway upgrade is starting with the department sending out letters to nearby residents from today.

The proposed upgrade from Carrington Road to Stirling Highway is part of the $ 2.3 billion Road and Rail Infrastructure package which is funded by the state and federal governments.

Key features for the upgrade are a new roundabout at the intersection of High Street and Stirling Highway, a wide median to separate traffic and preserve mature trees, and a single lane service road for residents north of High Street.

The concept design period is expected to take up to six months so that the community will have ample time to comment and be informed.

People can provide feedback by completing a survey online at https://project.mainroads.wa.gov.au/home/southmetropolitan/highstreet/Pages/default.aspx

Or send an email to highstreetupgrade@mainroads.wa.gov.au<mailto:highstreetupgrade@mainroads.wa.gov.au>

Posting to PO Box 6202 EAST PERTH WA 6892 or phoning 138 138

There will be an information display at the City of Fremantle Library from Monday 7 May.

Roel Loopers

WOOLSTORES PROPOSAL AT JDAP TOMORROW

 

Woolstores

The proposal by Silverleaf Investments for the development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site will come before the state’s South West Joint Development Assessment Panel tomorrow morning at 10 am at the temporary council chambers at Fremantle Oval.

Fremantle Council have recommended to reject the proposal because the proposed additional discretionary height conditions are not met to give the proposal the excellent design rating that is required to be granted extra height.

I hope a compromise can be reached between the City of Fremantle and Silverleaf Investments as the site is of great importance for the rejuvenation of the CBD and Fremantle’s attempt at economic recovery.

The present building is ugly and boring and offers a provincial low-key shopping experience, so a new development, especially with a hotel, would be very good.

We should also not forget that the developers could simply drop their request for additional discretionary height and build a very mediocre building that is within the PSA 49 rules, so the City and Silverleaf need to try to work together to get an exceptional iconic building.

Roel Loopers

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