Correcting the record on Freo and amalgamations

As of Monday morning 46.27% of East Fremantle residents have voted on the poll around amalgamation with Fremantle Council. To put this another way – just another 193 more people are required to vote by Saturday for the poll to be valid. As this vote steadily heads towards the 50% required I can’t help but wonder where this all  might end up. Assuming it makes the 50% the odds would suggest many of those who voted did so to oppose the amalgamation and as a result the whole amalgamation will be off.

While I’d be disappointed after so much community time and effort has gone into getting a sensible merger plan up for a new greater Fremantle, I’ve ultimately got no problem with this result so long as people did vote with the correct information in front of them.

Unfortunately the ads in Fremantle Herald in recent weeks certainly aren’t providing that accurate information for East Fremantle voters. So this blog post aims to correct the record so people can vote with the facts in front of them.

  1. Fremantle and East Fremantle councils have been working well together for many months to get an outcome that is good for both. I’ve been pleased with the level of collaboration.
  2. Mayors (along with possibly the deputy mayors and an independent chair) as interim commissioners is the most sensible way of keeping a continuity of representation and decision making going. No conflict of interest that I can see given many of us were elected to 2017 anyway. But ultimately this is the Minister’s call not ours.
  3. Fremantle Council’s finances are in a very strong position. You may have seen last week in The West that Fremantle’s cash reserves increased more than any other local government’s over the last few years. Our debt is smaller than this and Fremantle’s finances are strong by every empirical measure.
  4. Fremantle has won a number of awards for it town planning (amongst other things) in recent years and this council has recently ushered in some major changes to our town planning scheme to kick off the revitalisation of the Fremantle CBD. It is pleasing to see these changes now gaining momentum on the ground.
  5. The apparent quote from me “that the reason the Barnett Government wanted Fremantle to take over East Fremantle was because [Fremantle Council is] “pro-development”” is simply incorrect. I have publically said “At the heart of [Fremantle not been forced to merge with Melville] was demonstrating the Fremantle was committed to substantial population growth, economic investment and keeping Fremantle as Perth’s second city. The pro-development approach whilst controversial for some in the community was undoubtedly important to demonstrating to the local government advisory board and the State Government that Fremantle could be a sustainable local government area by itself into the future”. This is quite a different and it is been misused in this context.
  6. As for the silly idea that Fremantle Council can’t wait to build “massive high-rise development” on East Fremantle oval or View Terrace or Leeuwin Barracks. Again this is just wrong and just plain old scaremongering. Fremantle Council have always said we respect the existing East Fremantle town planning scheme.

Finally, all I’d say to East Fremantle residents is: it is entirely up to you as to how you vote and I have no desire to influence this important decision other than to say please don’t take what is written in these ads as accurate. Instead, dig a little deeper and see what both options might mean for you going forward. Here is some Freo info that might also help: http://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/cityoffremantle/Local_government_reform

poll ad east freo

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

3 Responses to Correcting the record on Freo and amalgamations

  1. dickbaynham says:

    Whichever way the vote goes Brad, it is good to see this level of engagement in local politics.

  2. Nonie Jekabsons says:

    Well said Dick – this is a level of engagement unusual in local government politics, and however you look at it – participation is a good thing and shows that this is an issue that people care about. I certainly hope that more people turn out and have their say. I hope that those affected take a quiet minute, to consider us in other LGAs who have not even been given the opportunity to be polled on this issue which affects us ALL. The Barnett Govt’s arrogance on this so called “reform” has been beyond rude. Please, citizens of East Freo, exercise your right to have a say, which has been denied those of us who will be afflicted with forced “boundary adjustments”, which in our case, swallows our entire Town and leaves us without any elected representative at all. May your poll result truly be in the best interests of the people, not just developer’s profits.

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