New minister’s issue

Without the Stirling Times’ coverage of this matter, ratepayers would have been none the wiser.

Fortunately this newspaper has given them a voice and the outcry from ratepayers is growing stronger each week.

There also was an interesting parallel regarding verge collections in the Times’ March 12 edition.

On page 5, the City of Stirling manager of waste and fleet Sean Sciberras was quoted as saying: ‘The ability to create a ‘Clean and Waste Wise’ City would not be possible if the previous system was maintained without a significant increase in staff and plant.’

A few pages on and letter writer Frank Schenk made the observation that Stirling councillors have created a problem “with their high-density urbanisation program’.

He ended his letter by saying: “After all, cash should not be a problem as the City now collects rates from four residents where it used to be one only.”

So there we have it.

Mr Sciberras admits that the City – it has grown so big, in terms of households – can’t provide four verge collections a year because it does not have sufficient staff or equipment.

As Mr Schenk correctly points out, the reason is the City’s urban infill policy where four households now have to be serviced, instead of one in the past.

While the council is now raking in far more rates money, it does not seem to have reached the areas it’s needed, such as Mr Sciberras’ department that is struggling in terms of manpower and equipment.

If the City is unable to provide the expected level of services to its continually expanding number of ratepayers, new Local Government Minister Tony Simpson has every justification for trimming the council’s boundaries and ceding some areas to smaller neighbouring councils that will no doubt welcome more ratepayers.

That’s something we intend raising with our local MLA now that Premier Colin Barnett has announced the new State Cabinet.