Bassendean ratepayers slam Town’s perceived ‘political bias’ in its newsletter

Concept plans of the State Football Centre.
Concept plans of the State Football Centre.

BASSENDEAN ratepayers have slammed the Town’s latest newsletter linked to the State Football Centre proposal and labelled it as a “slick public relations exercise”.

The February-March issue of the newsletter, Bassendean Briefings, featured an article titled “Premier announces funding commitment for the Town” in relation to the Liberal Party’s announcement for Ashfield Reserve.

In February, then-Premier Colin Barnett promised $37 million to build the State Football Centre if re-elected but Labor did not match the promise during the State Election.

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About 70 ratepayers voted for a motion to establish a residents’ committee to work with staff and review the format and accuracy of the Bassendean Briefings at a special meeting of electors on March 13.

The motion called for the volunteer centre to co-ordinate the review.

A Bassendean resident, who did not wish to be named, said the edition was an “undisguised plug for the Liberal Party”.

“Council need reminding that the cost to produce Bassendean Briefings is borne by the ratepayers who have an expectation that their local council are apolitical and that their voice will be heard,” she said.

Bassendean resident Bev Barnsley said council should not have political bias.

“There should be more than two people to decide,” she said.

“I have been a ratepayer for 32 years; I have never been so disgusted.”

Mayor John Gangell said the newsletter was of public interest and he was responsible for signing off the content before it went for publication.

Acting chief executive Michael Costarella said the cost of each issue would depend on the size and number of pages.

“The Bassendean Briefings newsletter is distributed to 10,222 residents and businesses bimonthly, at a cost of approximately 65c per copy,” he said.