City unhappy with TV report

THE City of Rockingham has hit back at what it has called �serious inaccuracies� made in a Channel Nine News story that aired earlier this week.

The story on the Rockingham Beach Foreshore Masterplan, which aired on Monday night under the title �The Forgotten Foreshore�, has drawn the ire of the City after making a number of claims that it says were wrong.

Among the claims made were the redevelopment costing $100 million, Rockingham having one of the �highest crime rates in the country� and �one-in-five� youth unemployment, and there being a �huge homelessness problem� in the City.

Mayor Barry Sammels was critical of the claims and said the City felt it needed to clarify them.

�The foreshore is not forgotten, it is a bustling, thriving centre of activity enjoyed by residents and visitors year-round,� Cr Sammels said.

�The foreshore redevelopment is not a $100 million project. The Masterplan is still being developed so it is too early to be specific about the total cost, but it will be approximately $40 million.�

He also said the actual youth unemployment level in the City was on par with the national average of 12.2 per cent.

�The City does not have one-in-five youth unemployment, the actual number is closer to one in 8.3, (which is) about 12 per cent,� he said.

�The City does not have �one of the highest crime rates in the country�. In fact, the City of Rockingham�s crime rate is lower than many other local government areas.�

He pointed to 2013/2014 Peel Police District figures, which the City was part of for most of the previous year, which showed Rockingham had a lower crime rate than most other metropolitan policing districts, and a lower rate than both the State and metropolitan average.

�Our integrated CCTV system and ongoing community safety programs, together with our close working relationship with local Police, ensure people in the City of Rockingham enjoy a greater level of safety than many other areas are able to provide,� Cr Sammels said.

He also acknowledged that while there were a number of homeless people living in the Rockingham area, it hardly amounted to a �huge� problem.

�There are some homeless people living in Rockingham, as there are in all local government areas,� he said.

�Those people are put in touch with the State and Federally funded services and facilities available in Fremantle because City of Rockingham does not receive any funding for those services.

�Some homeless people decide to take advantage of those services, some prefer to stay in Rockingham. It is an issue the City manages as sensitively as possible, bearing in mind the impact on the homeless people, and the wider community.�

The City of Rockingham contacted Channel Nine Perth to discuss the inaccuracies in the story and Cr Sammels said that they �stood by their claims�.

�The Rockingham Beach Foreshore Masterplan is an exciting project that will enhance the waterfront precinct in many ways,� he said.