Stirling approves $7500 for councillor to attend two-day LA conference

A plane descends into Perth Airport.
A plane descends into Perth Airport.

AN 11-day City of Stirling-funded study tour across China and Europe is costing ratepayers about $500 more than a councillor’s attendance at a two-day conference in Los Angeles.

Councillors voted at the April 16 meeting to send Planning manager Fraser Henderson on the Trackless Trams Technical Tour in June.

The City is part of a consortium of Perth local governments working with Curtin University to investigate the potential for trackless trams in Perth and is lobbying Federal Government for funding to run the trams or light rail from Glendalough to Scarborough Beach.

According to a City report, the research included a trackless tram trial funded by State and Federal governments.

The report said the 11-day tour visiting China, Sweden and Germany would cost $8000 and “directly benefit the City” to progress its Scarborough Beach Road project.

But Cr David Lagan believed it was not the City’s responsibility to fund research associated with the project.

“The City is paying to do work the State and Federal governments would like to see us do,” he said.

“It’s not our infrastructure.”

Mayor Mark Irwin said the City had been lobbying government for the past year.

“The first question we get asked is, ‘Have you seen it in action?’ and we have to say no,” he said.

Council also endorsed Cr Suzanne Migdale’s attendance at the Social Innovation Summit in LA on June 4 and 5, at a cost of $7486.

The accompanying report said the summit would provide Cr Migdale an opportunity to gain knowledge and ideas in relation to social innovation and network with experts from around the world.

Cr Karen Caddy questioned whether the accommodation costs of $3297 was incorrectly reversed with the airfare costs of $1486.

But governance manager Jamie Blanchard said they were correct and accommodation was much higher than the airfares because the policy allowed councillors to arrive two days before a conference and leave a day after.

The cost also includes a registration fee of $2703.