Business Specialist CFP | Local Government Expert | Political Adviser
I was first elected on 17 October 2011 and was forced to retire on 19 October 2019, so that I could present a case of appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal regarding a Minor Breach Complaint lodged against me by Cr Jodie Mansfield, a member of Mayor’s Taylors Voting Bloc from September 2018.
I won my appeal on 4 March 2020. The State Administrative Tribunal found that my actions to publish information about the behavior of Subiaco Councillors were “reasonable and in the interests of the council and the public”. Member Bertus de Villiers said that I “was exposed to a potential abuse of power since the CEO and the Mayor [Taylor] did not respond to her reasonable and rational concerns”. Read more here>>
As at 31 August 2019, cash reserves had grown to $58,459,447 compared to June 2013 cash reserves were $44,670,437.
Subiaco Council has a big budget ($65million pa), well paid staff and a Mayor to promote all of the things it does well. My role on Council was to keep the community informed about things they were not told or didn’t know about.
A DAP development application (8/10/2019) for 4 storeys and 10 flats at 95 Evans Street, Shenton Park is not a what the community had in mind in a transition area between a single storey Kindergarten and R100 on Railway Road, Shenton Park.
The State Government made a promise that if we accept infill, the community would be protected by “Transition Areas” which are lots zoned R40-60 or less for predominately grouped dwellings like terrace housing, one of Subiaco’s favourite type of homes, as can be seen by these images taken from Towards Perth and Peel @3.5million, July 2015.
LPS 5 is still waiting for approval from the Minister for Planning. If it doesn’t live up to community standards and expectations, there may be problems for developers in the City of Subiaco. Developers can win the community over by not paying too much for property in transition areas so that they can build group housing and still make a profit.
Subiaco’s Crown Land Reserve Lot 12732 is known as the Subiaco Oval Precinct and has been the Home of Football in WA since 1908.
Subiaco Council had a Vesting Order over the Reserve signed by Major General Philip Jeffery, Governor of WA reference Reserve No 41874 (Swan Locations 12731 and 12732) held by the City of Subiaco on 25 March 1998 for designated purposes of Sporting Ground, Telecommunications facility, Entertainment and Ancillary or Beneficial Uses.
Subiaco Council signed a lease with the WA Football Commission on 3 June 1999 expiring on 22 August 2090
In 2017, Council approved the Kitchener Common Master Plan for the Reserve, but that was while it still had the Vesting Order. Time will tell if the Mayor and the CEO can achieve this much sports space without the old Vesting Order.
In a secret Council meeting on 30 January 2018, an MOU was put to council to tear up its Vesting Order and hand over control to the State Government. The MOU was decided without negotiation for the loss of revenue to the city in parking fees and services and the loss of access to Subiaco Oval by the community for decades. It was a disappointing lost opportunity.
Mayor Taylor also handed over Subiaco’s lease to the WA Football Commission without negotiating any compensation or funding from the State Government. The WA Football Commission managed to negotiate $100 million compensation plus sale proceeds of the salvageable parts of the oval, and a relocation payment while the grandstands are to be demolished.
My work on this issue is still ongoing and takes up a whole landing page to describe. Please click here>>>
Subiaco Council is one of the richest councils in Western Australia. In 2019, council had more than $50 million in reserves and growing. I believe the current method of setting rates is done out of self interest as every council’s employees are guaranteed an increase in wages every year without any obvious Key Performance Indicators.
The other problem is that money is collected from ratepayers this year is used to pay for Asset Renewal next year and the years after. Asset Renewal is a program where councils tell the state government how much they have set aside for replacing equipment, buildings, playgrounds, roads, furniture and other “look at me” projects. The state government see rates as easy revenue raising which doesn’t affect their chances of winning government. It easy to keep cost shifting to local government and let local government take the blame.
And if you can’t pay your rates, your property is sold.
I am advocating for an independent body to set council rates. Each council is different and have their pet projects. These projects or services should be laid out in a business plan to justify the costs to an independent body and in consultation with ratepayers.
The Mayor’s Voting Bloc was first formed on 30 January 2018 when it voted to revoke Subiaco’s Vesting Order over Subiaco Oval reserve and hand over control to the State Government without one penny on funding or compensation. Since then the Voting Bloc has gone from strength to strength with some of its results published in the Post Newspapers.
Mayor Taylor’s Voting Bloc lost it’s majority when Crs Gedero and McAlistair were not re-elected by the residents and ratepayers. In fact none of Mayor Penny Taylor’s preferred candidates were elected as reported in the Post Newspapers:
Subiaco was the first metropolitan area in WA to have a Men’s Shed. They provide a much needed support base for single and retired men who still have skills and enthusiasm for the community.
I introduced an Elected Member’s Motion back in 2017 to support the expansion of the Shed and gained support of the majority of council. I again supported a report to council on the expansion. Funding was finally approved to double the footprint of the existing building in September 2019.
I have introduced two Elected Member’s Motion into Subiaco Council without support from the 2017 elected mayor. These motions have gone nowhere, although much is said about supporting Subiaco businesses by bringing more visitors to the City, actions do speak louder than words.
One of my proudest moments as a councillor was to be at the 2017 unveiling of a memorial to commemorate the Great Irish Famine (1845-1852) and the Irish girls that travelled to Western Australia and arrived in Subiaco.
Many streets are named after them to remember their fighting spirit to create a new home and hospitals for WA.
Before the March 2017 state election, the Labor Party had announced it was moving the school of Perth Modern to North Bridge in a multi-storey building. I immediately joined the P&C of Perth Modern to help their campaign to stay in Subiaco.
The campaign was an enormous success and the Premier backed down. He later came up with a new plan to build a college on Kitchener Park despite the shortage of sports space in Subiaco to accommodate 6,140 additional residential dwellings by 2050.
In 2016 and losing forced amalgamations, Premier Barnett was determined that the City of Perth Act would go ahead with or without the approval of the community. Part of the South Ward of Subiaco including Sir Charles Gardener Hospital and UWA were to be excised and added to the City of Perth. He claimed a capital city should have a university in its boundaries and Subiaco and Nedlands had become too difficult for UWA to deal with. The Premier won this fight but it was his last in Government.
I am very fond of Subiaco’s unique heritage with welcoming verandahs, chimney rooftops and urban tree canopy, even our trees have their own history and heritage.
I not fond of architecture that mimics “tissue box” and “shipping container” as additions to existing homes and buildings. I think Subiaco’s character and heritage architecture should be a mimic of what we already have. Why mimic a tissue box or a shipping container when there’s so much heritage and character to choose from?
Without the will of the people right across Perth, councils including Subiaco would have been amalgamated into much larger councils like Stirling and Joondalup. Mayor Heather Henderson and I worked together to represent Subiaco to let its electors have their say on amalgamations.
In the end, the community won the day in 2015 and the proponents of forced Amalgamations lost their seat in parliament – Tony Simpson and John Day, and the Liberal Party lost government in 2017.
In June 2013, Minister Day made a move on Subiaco Council to approve 16-19 storeys at the Pavilion Market sites claiming the Council had failed to initiate any development at the site. Of course none of this was true but it made a good story for any media with an axe to grind like The West!
The facts are that Subiaco Council had approved a 5 storey development back in 2009 at the owner’s request and offered to pay the owner money to reopen the markets in 2012 until they were ready to develop.
The DAP approved the 16 storey building for the site in 2014, the site was put up for sale and nothing was built. Subiaco Council also approved $750,000 to help with improvements for the new build. Still nothing was built…
In 2018 the site was finally sold for $25million. A DAP application for $120million development for 24 storeys came to council. Instead of bringing the application to Council for its say, the RAR went straight to the DAP which is an incredible turn of events after many years of prioritising the Council to have its say first!
In 2012, not one development application which had gone to council for a decision. The CEO of the day sent all applications straight to the DAP. The DAP was also making decisions in secret and did not involve the community in any of its decision making. A clear example of this was The Wedge, approved on 21 March 2012, in secret with no residential dwellings even though it was in a perfect TOD location.
Between 2012 and 2014 the Development Assessment Panel approve four office blocks in Subiaco without any residential dwellings. The DAP ignored the State Government’s plans for infill in the Perth Metropolitan area. The office blocks were approved on 27 Railway Road, 19 Catherine Street, cnr Railway and Bagot Road and 1 Seddon Street, Subiaco.
I started the Scrap the DAP campaign to force the government to change the rules. This campaign started with a presentation at Cottesloe Civic Centre with the Premier Colin Barnett in the audience.
DAP Secret approvals exposed 21 March 2012.
The DAP continued to ignore community standards and expectations by approving a McDonalds adjacent to a school oval in Mandurah in 2014.
With the help of former Mayors Ron Norris and John Carey, the Government has made the DAP more transparent than any council I know.
Nevertheless, more than 50 communities across Perth are affected by DAP decisions and still continue to this day. Read more here>>>
In 2011, Subiaco Council had many meetings in secret to vote on planning applications appealed at the SAT. Some Councillors were also plotting to sell off council carparks for re-development when the City was crying out for more carparking, not less.
Lucky for Subiaco, the Post Newspapers helped exposed these plots.
By the end of 2012, secret meetings has ceased and carparks were not sold off to developers.
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