City of Perth chair commissioner reflects on six months in the role

Eric Lumsden, Local Government Minister David Templeman, Gaye McMath and Andrew Hammond.
Eric Lumsden, Local Government Minister David Templeman, Gaye McMath and Andrew Hammond.

CITY of Perth chair commissioner Eric Lumsden this week reflected on the past six months of decision-making while the council has been suspended.

The retired WA Planning Commission boss, along with former City of Rockingham chief executive Andrew Hammond and former Perth Education City executive director Gaye McMath were appointed in March when Perth council was suspended by Local Government Minister David Templeman.

Their first meeting took place on March 15.

Mr Lumsden said at last night’s meeting that in the last six months, he and his fellow commissioners had met with ratepayers groups, adjacent local governments, tourism groups, university chancellors and Rotary organisations.

He said they identified homelessness, parking and the allocation of grants to be key issues.

Mr Lumsden said the commissioners would continue to review the City’s approach to its finances and councillor allowances.

“Car parking makes up for 35 per cent of revenue, and we need to service businesses and the business community with competition being intense,” he said.

“In the future, the approach would be on a fit for purpose basis; controlled but supporting businesses where possible.”

He said precincts and neighbourhoods would need to be examined to determine the best way to handle parking in each area.

Mr Lumsden said another aim was to improve response times and enhance customer service.

Since taking the roles, the commissioners have slashed the Lord Mayor’s fees from $135,909 to $60,900 per annum, made further restrictions to councillor entitlements, tweaked the outdoor dining policy and reduced the hourly parking fee at the On the Point hospitality hub.