New community group forms as local election heats up

City of Melville administration building.
City of Melville administration building.

A NEW Melville community group has formed at the height of the local government election battleground with a very clear mindset on who it is backing.

The Greater Melville Community Association (GMCA) is being spearheaded by former deputy mayor Alex Bajada, who was open in confirming the association was supporting Russell Aubrey, Cameron Schuster, Patricia Phelan, Duncan Macphail, Sean Ayres, John Watters and Matthew Woodall in the current election.

“The group has been planning to set up our association for many months but the idea was hatched as far back as last year when it was obvious that there was so much contrived turmoil and very aggressive behaviour towards City staff and elected members,” he said.

“The association is keen to provide a co-operative positive framework for interaction between the City and Melville residents in contrast to the very aggressive stance taken by several ratepayer organisations.”

A spokesman for Melville’s existing ratepayer group, the City of Melville Resident and Ratepayers Association (MRRA), said they supported freedom of association, although it was clear the GMCA was a “devout supporter” of Mr Aubrey, the current mayor.

“Provided the community is fully aware of those links, those candidates declare those links and the GMCA and its members do not spread false or misleading material, we are happy to see an honest and informed debate on the real issues unfold,” Mark McLerie said.

Mr McLerie said the MRRA was not supporting specific candidates but it was clear from its activities it was promoting the need for cultural change as described by Local Government Minister David Templeman.

“The insinuation that we are financially supporting specific candidates, in particular George Gear, are simply not true,” he said.

Mr Bajada said the association would fight the “continuously aggressive actions” of groups associated with Mr Gear.