Scaffidi still under scrutiny

PREMIER Colin Barnett has denied reports he will meet Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi amid speculation she will resign.

The Department of Local Government confirmed yesterday it was still investigating Ms Scaffidi after findings of serious misconduct by the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).

A spokeswoman from the Department of Local Government said it would be inappropriate to comment while the investigation was still under way.

In October, Ms Scaffidi was found to have not declared a $36,000 BHP-Billiton paid trip to the Beijing Olympics.

Media reports yesterday suggested Ms Scaffidi was on the verge of resigning because of a fresh Department inquiry, which the spokeswoman denied.

Ms Scaffidi did not want to comment on the false reports.

Mr Barnett told Community Newspaper Group last Friday there needed to be a higher level of accountability on gifts, particularly travel and accommodation.

“I can see I haven’t got the sort of reform that’s needed across local government but that whole issue started when I announced we were going to expand the boundaries of the City of Perth in 2012,” he said.

The City of Perth Bill was amended after being introduced to State Parliament recently, requiring councillors to disclose gifts and travel online within 10 days from July 1 next year.

Mr Barnett supported the transparency amendments.

“Those measures ultimately need to be put in the Local Government Act, so we’re happy it’s been included in the Perth City Act,” he said.

At a WA Local Government Association (WALGA) general meeting in August, Vincent Mayor John Carey’s motion for greater transparency measures was overwhelmingly defeated.

Mr Carey tweeted yesterday that the Local Government Act needed reform.

“Elected officials should not escape inquiries by simply resigning,” the tweet read.

“What other workplace does this happen?”

WA Local Government Association president Lyn Craigie said WALGA supported transparency in local government and did not see any problems with the changes or creating online lists, which could help some councillors with their jobs.