Agricultural taskforce appointments stir political tensions in City of Wanneroo council

Farmers raised concerns about water restrictions last summer. Picture: Bruce Hunt d463624
Farmers raised concerns about water restrictions last summer. Picture: Bruce Hunt d463624

APPOINTMENTS to an agricultural taskforce stirred Liberal-Labor tension in the City of Wanneroo council chambers this week.

Councillor Paul Miles raised questions about a report on the North Wanneroo Agriculture and Water State Government Taskforce chaired by Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton, who defeated him in the March State Election.

The November 14 report recommended council approve the appointment of Mayor Tracey Roberts and chief executive Daniel Simms, or his nominee, to the taskforce that will investigate horticultural sustainability in Carabooda, Nowergup and Neerabup.

“The concern I had was there’s no deputy delegate being asked for by State Government,” Cr Miles said.

The Central ward councillor said if the mayor could not attend taskforce meetings, either Cr Samantha Fenn or Cr Frank Cvitan should be able to attend in her place.

Cr Miles said if a councillor was not nominated, the deputy mayor would normally represent the mayor when needed, but he was concerned that deputy mayor Nat Sangalli worked for the taskforce chairwoman.

Mrs Roberts said it was a ministerial taskforce and Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan had only invited her and Mr Simms or his nominee to be part of it.

When the council considered the report later in the meeting, Cr Sangalli declared an impartiality interest as she worked in the taskforce chairwoman’s office.

Mover Cr Domenic Zappa welcomed the taskforce and said the City had identified agriculture as a key economic development.

“I encourage anything that would support and promote this industry and our precious water resources,” he said.

Cr Miles said it was important the council supported the taskforce as up to 2000 people worked in the area, which was founded on farming.

“Famers up there are desperately in need of further water supplies,” he said.

Elected members unanimously supported the motion to appoint the mayor and chief executive to the taskforce, which will hold its first meeting on December 8.

The Carabooda, Nowergup, Neerabup Land Owner Group raised concerns about water restrictions threatening farmers’ survival last summer.

MORE: Coolbellup man hopes CCTV footage can catch garden statue thieves

MORE: Church of Scientology clears final hurdle in establishing Rivervale centre

MORE: Bentley Plaza fire: at least a million dollars damage