Opposition Leader McGowan calls on State Govt to sack City of Perth council

Mark McGowan.
Mark McGowan.

OPPOSITION Leader Mark McGowan today called on the State Government to dismiss the City of Perth council and hold new elections.

Mr McGowan made the call after yesterday’s mediations at the State Administrative Tribunal between Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and the Department of Local Government failed to produce a resolution.

It is understood the parties will return to the Tribunal next month.

Mr McGowan told the Guardian Express the situation was “untenable”.

“I have found the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) report to be shocking, and the sense of entitlement that seems to permeate much of the City of Perth to be unacceptable,” he said.

“The in-fighting between the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor, and the ongoing media gag on councillors, is symptomatic of a dysfunctional council. Whatever process is needed to dismiss the council and hold fresh elections should begin.”

The Opposition Leader said new Local Government Minister Paul Miles was reluctant to criticise the City of Perth, despite “damning” findings against the Lord Mayor.

“The government seems to be protecting the City of Perth. They don’t seem to care about the damning (CCC) report. They are protecting them no doubt for their own political purposes,” he said.

“I find the (CCC) findings to be beyond anything I have seen before. If a member of Parliament had done what the Lord Mayor has done, they would be gone, they would be hounded out of office.

“Taking free trips from groups and not declaring it, and then making decisions regarding those groups is just unbelievable.”

Mr McGowan made the comments shortly before the City of Perth announced it was embarking on what it described as “a detailed audit of its operations, systems and procedures”.

City of Perth chief executive Martin Mileham said he expected “a well-known advisory firm following a rigorous tendering process” would conduct the audit.

The most recent City of Perth council meeting voted unanimously to appoint Patrick Warr of Grant Thomas Australia Ltd as the City’s auditor for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Mr Mileham said the audit “represents the shared goal of the City’s Administration and Council to deliver the highest standards of transparency, governance and value for money for our ratepayers, stakeholders and the broader community”.