Freo's View

CITY OF FREMANTLE FINANCES SOUND

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, finances, Uncategorized by freoview on August 11, 2017

 

A small article in today’s West Australian reported that David Templeman, the Minister for Local Government, had announced that 15 per cent of, or 22 local councils in W.A. were considered to be high risk by the department.

They include the City of Perth, Fremantle, Kalgoorlie, Exmouth, Derby, Carnarvon, etc. but the article did not go into detail as to why these councils are judged to be high risk.

The claim about Fremantle’s finances has been made before, and rejected by the City, but I thought it would be prudent to ask them for a comment. Here it is:

Today’s page 14 newpaper article in The West Australian: ‘More councils high-risk’ has named the City of Fremantle as being identified by the Department of Local Government as ‘high risk’.

The City assumes it was included in this list due to a one-off low Financial Health Indicator (FHI) score for the 2015/16 financial year. The lower than usual score was caused by a combination of factors including a change in accounting methodology used by the City to simplify the way overhead costs are recorded. This change artificially inflated the year-on-year operating expenditure in 2015/16.

With this anomaly addressed in subsequent budgets, the City’s FHI score will normalise back to its long-term healthy trend when the 2016/17 audit is completed.

In previous reports issued by the Department of Local Government the City of Fremantle has not ever been classified as being in any risk category, let alone a high risk.

The City is independently audited each year and no audit has ever indicated any fundamental issues or problems with the City’s medium or long-term financial viability.

I wonder if it should not be a matter of course for the Department of Local Government to notify local councils of their findings and concerns and offer support to them, and clarify how they reached the findings.

 

Roel Loopers

HOMELESSNES A VERY REAL PROBLEM

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, homelessness, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 4, 2017

 

An article in today’s West Australian by Ian Carter, the CEO of Anglicare WA, should be reminder to us all that we need to do more for homeless people. It is a blight on society that in a rich country like Australia thousands of people have to live on the streets.

Ian Carter writes that only one per cent of rental properties in the Perth area are affordable to people on Newstart or on a pension. That is ridiculously low and not acceptable.

Affordable rent is considered to be no more than 30 per cent of income, hence the latest Census shows we have 9592 homeless people and another 7070 are at risk of becoming homeless, as they live in caravan parks and overcrowded accommodation.

The main reasons for becoming homeless, according to Anglicare, are domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental health, financial troubles, and substance use.

The Anglicare CEO writes in the West Australian that social housing should be near transport nodes and accessible to human services and government resources.

It is important not to see homeless people as an unsightly sight on our streets, but as people who deserve and require our compassion and support. I have no doubt we could do a whole lot better if we really tried.

 

Roel Loopers

 

UNIVERSITY STUDY SAYS AMALGAMATION NOT BETTER

Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 12, 2013

Please explain Fremantle? Why are you so quiet on the amalgamation of Fremantle, Melville and East Fremantle as proposed by the Colin Barnett government? Do you really care so little about at least retaining some semblance of community, identity and democracy? Don’t you want to have a voice? Are you happy with only two councillors representing our city where Melville will have the majority of councillors? I cannot see another explanation for not signing the petition and speak out. Only 477 on-line signatures up to now is rather pathetic I believe, even more so when a new study by Professor Brian Dollery of the University of New England has found there is no proof that larger councils are more effective and save cost. According to a report in the West Australian today Professor Dollery found that amalgamations are expensive, divisive, increase rates, raise costs and lead to disillusionment in the community.

Come on Freo, fight the fight for our community to decide the destiny of our city!

Roel Loopers

PLANNING PUBLIC SPACES IN FREMANTLE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on May 8, 2013

A good opinion article in the West Australian on urban living by Alannah MacTiernan, the Mayor of the City of Vincent, and a blog post by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt about green spaces being underutilised made me contemplate what Fremantle’s inner city will look like once hundreds of apartments and many multi-storey buildings have been erected in the inner city. We need to plan for public open spaces as MacTiernan points out. I believe we also need to design our green areas much better and learn to share them with other users. A large chunk of grass somewhere won’t attract that many people unless they want to play cricket or kick a footy. Reserves like Stevens and Fremantle Park should be shared with other sporting clubs and users, while large spaces need to be made into many smaller ones to make them look more attractive. Even trees around a footy oval would look much better than what most of them are now.

Mac Tiernan writes about density well done in Berlin, Germany where apartment building heights vary between 5 and 8 storeys and many are built so they surround a large green courtyard. While this is not necessary public space it is an outdoor space for those in the apartments to enjoy.

I don’t think we have strict enough regulations in place to demand good public open spaces from developers and we don’t seem to design our public areas that well, hence they remain poorly used. Often lack of trees, shade, native bush that attracts birds, good seating, small playgrounds, pathways, so that the grassed areas are not huge, etc.

There is a lot of room for improvement and I for one hope the City of Fremantle will decide to get a working group of landscape architects and planning people together to see how we can improve existing public spaces and plan for new ones once the inevitable development of Fremantle will start to happen. It is essential the City is pro-active and won’t allow developers to only offer left-over bits as open spaces. We need more and better than that.

Roel Loopers

CONTESTED PARKING FINES ARE HUGE

Posted in australia, fremantle, west australian by freoview on October 9, 2010

A report in the West Australian newspaper today raises a few questions about the competence of Fremantle parking inspectors.

According to the article, motorists who appealed to the City of Fremantle against parking fines won 54 percent of the time. This is quite a staggering percentage, especially when one considers that many drivers would simply pay the fine in the assumption it is right. The figure might be much higher if more drivers appealed.

It would be good if the city told us what the costs are when council staff have to deal with so many appeals against fines, and if parking inspectors who get it wrong so often are being retrained. On first impression it seems a huge waste of resources.

QUESTION I: How many parking fines does the City of Fremantle issue a year?

QUESTION 2: How many of these fines are appealed against?

QUESTION 3: What amount of money do 54% of the canceled fines equate to?

QUESTION 4: How many staff, and legal consultation, hours are involved in dealing with contested parking fines and at what costs?

Roel Loopers

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