Mayor speaks out against muckraking

Part of lot 971 begind the Kingsley Tavern.
Part of lot 971 begind the Kingsley Tavern.

It follows the recent publication of a complaint to the Department of Local Government about him not disclosing a 2009 campaign donation of $1000 from the owner of the Kingsley Tavern when the council considered the future of adjoining land in 2011 and 2012.

The department found he had failed to comply with the Act and decided not to refer the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal but Mr Pickard described the push to have it made public in a newspaper last month as muckraking.

‘Chief executive Garry Hunt and I have gone through my (2013) electoral returns and captured the name of all the organisations to ensure people preparing the (council meeting) agenda are aware that if these names pop up, you need to tell Troy there is a potential interest that he needs to declare,’ Mr Pickard said.

‘So we have put safeguards in place because it is not just safeguards for me ” they’re safeguards for the city.

‘I’ve worked too hard over the last eight years as mayor to build the reputation of our city to see it brought down by a few people who want to muckrake and bring the office of mayor into disrepute. So I’m happy to cop criticism on the chin; I should have disclosed it, I didn’t, a lesson learnt, I’m not perfect.’

The Kingsley land behind the tavern, lot 971, is one of the council-owned blocks that could be rezoned for aged-care homes and sold to help build Joondalup’s proposed performing arts centre.

Mr Pickard said the council was in 2011-12 ‘exploring how we’re going to use lot 971’, considering a ‘higher use’ such as commercial or residential and ‘seeking quotes on the value of the land’.

‘The reason why I didn’t declare the (proximity) interest (a proximity interest for an electoral gift is a financial interest) was because we weren’t making any decisions on the land,’ he said.

‘As soon as you make a decision on the land to rezone it, there is obviously a trigger there to declare.

‘That’s why it wasn’t on my radar but I’ve been told and shown the rules that regardless of not triggering any decisions on the land, we were considering it and I should have declared.’

He said despite the financial interest lapsing with the end of his second term as mayor last year, he would still declare an interest when the council reconsidered lot 971.

‘I don’t have to declare it as a financial interest anymore but it is an interest affecting impartiality because I know the owner and tenant,’ he said. ‘I wouldn’t call them friends but they’re people known to me so’