Locals in dark on justice centre

Locals in dark on justice centre

The City last week sent a formal letter to Planning Minister John Day expressing its disappointment with the WA Planning Commission’s confidentiality surrounding the selection of the Lord Street site for the centre.

Mayor Charlie Zannino said he was disappointed in the ‘fait accompli’ presented to the community and the ‘deliberately opaque’ manner in which the WAPC had made its determination.

‘The WAPC overturned the council’s recommendation and approved the development application, and has kept the report on the recommendation confidential,’ he said.

‘In the interest of accountability and transparency, the City of Swan requests the WAPC, without delay, make public the reasons for its approval.’

According to the WAPC, the site selection report for the centre contains legal advice and is therefore confidential.

Mr Day said it was usual practice for a report to be treated as confidential but he assured residents the correct procedure had been followed.

‘The WAPC Statutory Planning Committee makes decisions based on the merits of an application and whether it generally complies with the relevant planning frame-|work,’ Mr Day said.

‘In this situation, there is a statutory Planning Control Area over the site identifying it for use as a Disability Justice Centre and the established use for the site was for disability services.’

Mr Kelly’s office submitted multiple FOI requests to Minister for Health and Disability Services Helen Morton about the centre.

‘We first put in a fairly broad FOI request about the centre on the criteria used to select the site, but that one was refused because the Minister said there would be too many documents,’ Mr Kelly said.

‘You could certainly say the Government has not co-operated with us on this.

‘It sounds like the site selection was 99 per cent playing politics and 1 per cent good policy.’

Mr Kelly is waiting on the reply to a FOI request for the feasibility study conducted for the Lord Street site.