City angered by confidential decision

The City this week sent a formal letter to Planning Minister John Day expressing disappointment in the WA Planning Commission’s confidentiality surrounding the selection of the Lockridge/Caversham Lord Street site.

Mayor Charlie Zannino said he was disappointed in the ‘fait accompli’ presented to the community and the ‘deliberately opaque’ manner in which WAPC made its determination. ‘The WAPC overturned the Council’s recommendation and approved the development application, and has kept the report on the recommendation confidential,’ he said.

‘In the interest of accountability and transparency, the City of Swan requests the WAPC, without delay, make public the reasons for its approval.’

According to the WAPC, the site selection report for the DJC contains legal advice and it was therefore confidential.

Mr Day said it was usual practice for a report to be treated as confidential but assured residents the correct procedure was followed.

‘The WAPC Statutory Planning Committee makes decisions based on the merits of an application and whether it generally complies with the relevant planning framework,’ he said.

‘In this situation, there is a statutory Planning Control Area over the site identifying it for use as a Disability Justice Centre and the established use for the site was for disability services.’

Mr Kelly’s Bassendean office has submitted multiple FOI requests to Minister for Health and Disability Services Helen Morton in regard to the Disability Justice Centres.

‘We first put in a fairly broad FOI request about the DJC on the criteria used to select the site but that one was refused because the minister said there would be too many documents,’ Mr Kelly said.

‘You could certainly say the government has not co-operated with us on this.’

‘It sounds like the site selection was 99 per cent playing politics and 1 per cent good policy,’ he said.

Mr Kelly is now awaiting a reply to a FOI request for the feasibility study conducted for the Lord Street site of the DJC.