Baldivis Labor candidate Reece Whitby hosts community forum

Baldivis Labor candidate Reece Whitby.
Baldivis Labor candidate Reece Whitby.

A FORUM hosted by Baldivis Labor candidate Reece Whitby pitched Baldivis as a rapidly growing area that is facing significant pressures.

Mr Whitby said quarterly statistics from the electoral roll at March 2015 showed a population of about 24,000.

Just over a year later its report from September pegged the population at close to 30,000.

To handle the rapid increase he said a collaborative effort between state and local government would be a good opportunity for effective management of the area.

“Employment is a huge issue for the area,” he said

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“Adding to that is the growing job insecurity where people are underemployed and worried about household bills and school fees.”

Opposition Local Government spokesman David Templeman convened the forum, attended by City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams, City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels and Rockingham councillors Joy Stewart, Kelly McManus and Chris Elliott.

City of Kwinana Deputy Mayor Peter Feasey and councillor Sheila Mills attended, addressing the concerns of both councils.

Echoing Mr Whitby’s sentiment, he said strong relationships were key to dealing with the area’s issues.

“We have shared priorities, particularly issues that affect people’s livelihoods,” he said.

“We need to play a crucial role in those services that employ people so we can get people back to work and so that they can see a future with that work.

“A mutually agreed partnership will be the way forward.

“There are a lot of competent people in local government with innovative ideas. Opening up tourism, agriculture are just some areas for new employment and business opportunities.”

He said it also included giving the councils greater flexibility with economic responsibility.

“There are huge pressures with population growth and we want a more streamlined process where things go through quickly,” he said.

“But we need regulation – no doubt about that.

City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said they were struggling under so much growth.

“We are always under the pump for infrastructure funding,” she said.

“I would like us to be more entrepreneurial and have our own revenue streams but in a very tight and transparent way.”

Mayor Sammels took a different tack and asked where state Labor stood on rate capping.

“I can understand why people say that raising rates but we have no other way to raise revenue,” he said.

“Where do you stand on rate capping?”

Mr Templeman said they hoped to apply other measures that would not interfere with council rate setting.

“We don’t have plans to introduce rate capping.

“The income stream of local governments is very narrow.

“We hope what we can do will put some downward pressure on raising rates.”