Below are some of the issues impacting on Bayswater residents and businesses which I am passionate about.

    Proposed mobile tower - Wellington Village Shopping Centre

    Residents encouraged to have their say

    An application for planning approval has been received by the City of Bayswater for the installation of a new mobile phone tower at Lot 3, 9 Noranda Avenue, Morley (Wellington Village Shopping Centre).


    Anyone with a view on this proposal should voice their opinion to Councillors and through the City’s engagement process by visiting http://engage.bayswater.wa.gov.au/planning-applications-public-advertising


    I also encourage anyone with a view to share on this application to come to the Planning & Development Services Committee meeting held on Tuesday 13 March 2018 at the Council Chambers at 61 Broun Avenue Morley at 6.30pm when a decision is set to be made.

    Sharing the burden

    Let's review how many Councillors we have, how much we are paid and how we elect our Mayor

    Since I was elected two years ago there has been a huge shift on Council, with only two incumbents keeping their seats through 2 elections (Cr McKenna and Cr Cornish). Clearly the communities we represent want things done differently.


    In this time, your Council made a change at the top of the organisation to ensure the community's expectations were better reflected in the day-to-day performance and conduct of their City.


    Andrew Brien is doing a good job as our new CEO shifting the focus and culture of an organisation stuck in the 1990s, but it's a big task and it will take time. When he was hired, I was the only vote against the appointment, citing what I believe is an obscene pay package.


    We can't afford to fix the issues at Bayswater Waves or maintain the golf course in reasonable time-frames, but somehow we can afford to keep paying huge staff salaries for over 400 people in the administration, including our own Council fees.


    Considering that our ratepayers are forced to hand over $45 million in the 2017-2018 year, and $35 million of this will be going to salaries and employee costs, it's logical the focus should be on reducing this recurrent spending to start fixing our huge budget woes.


    With that in mind, before the election last month I gave notice of the following motion to be debated at the first full Council meeting (14 November) after our new Councillors have been sworn-in:


    1. That the City of Bayswater institutes a governance review looking at:

    • The current ward system, including the number of elected members per ward.

    • The method of electing the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor.


    2. That as part of the 2018/19 Budget process, Council assess the elected members' remuneration policy, including the policy of elected members receiving the maximum annual attendance fee as determined by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal (SAT).


    If passed by Council, public consultation will be vital in shaping how your representative body looks in the future. I'll be making a submission which sees a reduction in the number of councillors to 2 per ward, reduces our fees from the maximum allowable under SAT, and moves us away from a Council-elected Mayor to holding a popular election for this important position.


    It's a big change, but we have to share the burden.

    Increasing our pensioner rebates

    Better priorities to take care of those doing it tough

    With the City's review into the Long Term Financial Plan finally completed and endorsed by Council at the July 2017 meeting, I was able to get the support of most of my colleagues to look into increasing our subsidies we give pensioners to assist with their rising cost of living.


    Prioritising our struggling pensioners over spending money we don't have on non-core government areas and even more staff was a central plank of my campaign in 2015, so I am very happy to see Council understand just how tough it is at the moment for our most economically vulnerable residents.


    Later this year we'll see a report detailing everything that comes with building a staggering increase in the rebate into the Long Term Financial Plan, with a final decision to be made before the next Budget is considered.

    A basket case: WALGA defends rate rise

    CPI is relevant, no matter what WALGA says


    In early July 2017, through a regular column in The West Australian - thewest.com.au, WALGA President Cr Lynne Craigie issued a plea for ratepayers across WA to disregard the Consumer Price Index when considering their council rates notice. It went on to assume that all council spending is critical to meet the demands of our diverse communities.


    In addition to this column, starting on the weekend of 15/16 July, WALGA member councils have been told to expect a new advertising campaign (funded by rates collected at a local level and sent to WALGA through the annual membership fee councils pay) “to assist community understanding of the rates process.”


    One of the main points stressed continuously by WALGA and local councillors who refuse to fight for lower rates is that because all the individual expenditures of a local government made over the year is not directly reflected in how CPI is calculated, there is not a relevant correlation between it and rate increases.


    To assess if this is a reasonable position, let’s take a look at what the CPI is. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the simplest way of thinking about the CPI is to imagine a basket of goods and services comprising items bought by Australian households. Now imagine the basket is purchased each quarter. As prices change from one quarter to the next, so too will the total price of the basket. The CPI is simply a measure of the changes in the price of this fixed basket as the prices of items in it change. What WALGA won't openly say is that local council rates is included in this fixed basket.


    CPI affects almost all Australians because of the many ways it is used. It is primarily used as a macro–economic indicator by governments and economists to monitor and evaluate levels of inflation in the economy, and for adjusting dollar values of types of fixed payments, such as pensions and contracts. Based on current assessments, the City of Bayswater has roughly 5000 properties owned and occupied by pensioners. Their pension is indexed twice a year by the Federal Government and reflects growth in the Consumer Price Index and the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index, whichever is higher at that point in time.


    Further, considering the single largest expense for any local government is salaries and employee costs set out in EBAs (of which CPI is almost always a factor in determining what a fair wage increase is to match cost of living and inflation).


    All in all, I don’t think WALGA’s argument to disregard CPI stacks up.

    WALGA seemingly denies the importance of balancing the ratepayer capacity to absorb higher increases every year with the necessity of the spending it is fueling. Their disregard of how our thousands of pensioners (who are under attack from higher levels of government) could possibly meet rate increases above their indexation is the most obvious.


    Over the past few years the way local governments plan for the future has changed. The previous State Government introduce long term financial planning as a key element of the new Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework. This enables local governments to set priorities, based on their resourcing capabilities, for the delivery of short, medium and long term community priorities. The Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) is a ten year rolling plan that informs the Corporate Business Plan to activate Strategic Community Plan priorities. These plans are formed as a result of consultation with residents and ratepayers, but traditionally have a very low participation level. Bayswater’s latest efforts to find out what the community wanted in these plans netted the feedback of 700 out of some 70,000 residents.


    From these planning processes, annual budgets that are aligned with strategic objectives can be developed. The key to all of this is the balance between how your local council matches the priorities of so few in the broader community who took part in shaping these plans, with the ability to actually fund it (primarily through rates applied to your entire base).


    As I have a vote on the City of Bayswater Budget, I feel it necessary to have some understanding of the ability of the whole community’s capacity to absorb increases in rates to fund the priorities identified in a plan which had so little input from the population we serve.


    I’ll sum it up in a different way. I hardly consider the following a fair situation: Baysie Council asking 100% of our ratepayers to pay for the desires and priorities of 1% of the community. Too large a portion of spending that I have seen is not critical in providing essential local services, they're vanity projects pushed by spendthrift councillors chasing votes.


    I voted against the 2017/2018 Budget because the 4.9% increase in rates was excessive. I do not believe the new spending items outlined matched the true needs of the broader community and because of the fear I have for our ratepayers with the guaranteed cost of living increases we are contributing to, in addition to those coming up in the September State Budget.


    I voted against the budget because I value more money staying in the hands of ratepayers than at the mercy of this current crop of councillors. One local example of their flagrant waste, which WALGA deems as appropriate spending that you should pay for and not complain about, is the $3.5 million being offered on a block of land zoned residential because local activists deem it significant for the environment. $1.5 million of this total has come from a reserve we keep to ensure when critical local assets need maintenance, we don’t have to increase rates all of a sudden to meet the cost. That reserve is now depleted by 30%. $1.5 million was a pork barrelling gift from the new Labor Government. The remaining $500,000 was taken from the appropriate Public Open Space Reserve. In this vote, these councillors caused more damage to the long term financial stability than any other act I’ll likely see during my stint in local government.


    My main gripe with WALGA is they never factor in the negative impacts of ever-increasing rates on the household and they never advocate for their members to show spending restraint in these non-core areas of responsibility. They pass comment at a high level without any detail. They believe the work of any local council has been endorsed by all residents and seemingly never consider the many other pressures households’ face – which is why I have a huge problem with their denial of the importance of CPI in understanding what constitutes a fair and manageable rate increase to those paying the bill.


    WALGA needs to wake up and admit that the vast majority of people don’t care about their local government past having their bins picked up and some other basic services. They know that costs money, but to justify councils spending millions on pet projects or having councillors flying around the world on junkets as critical spending shows how out of touch this organisation is. Rates can be lower, they should be lowered, but no one wants to make the tough decisions to make it happen and WALGA provides them with cover.


    But I also need to remember that WALGA has only ever existed to serve the status quo, so my waiting on them to change their tune will be in vain.

    Divestment: A new front in the war against reality

    So much for our local push for transparency and broader community inclusion in decision making.

    The proxy war between extremist Green movements and common sense is forever gathering steam, with the latest front opening up at the Bayswater Council. You can read my thoughts on Divestment by clicking here.

    2017/18 Budget: Spread too thin...

    We cannot honestly say that all our spending is vital.

    Later this month Baysie Council will be meeting to vote on the Budget for 2017/2018. This will outline what your money is spent on and how much more you’ll have to pay in rates and charges to cover it.


    Before we consider asking our ratepayers yet again for even more, I’m asking my colleagues to take stock of what we are paying for now to ensure it’s absolutely essential. Household expenses are under increased pressure from both the high-taxing state and federal governments, so we mustn’t wantonly add to this stress.


    In the last budget, ratepayers forked out $1,175,725 for the bare maintenance of just a fraction of our City-owned buildings (excluding expenditure on the Waves). This covered things like fencing, lighting, and plumbing.


    As we have over 170 buildings to pay for, some of which are extremely old and possibly under-utilised, it’s prudent to check sooner rather than later what’s still needed by the community. We haven't conducted an audit in many years. We cannot even pay for the upkeep of our much-loved community golf course and swimming pool because we are spread too thin.


    It’s not fair to keep going back to the ratepayer for more year-in-year-out when Council cannot say clearly and honestly that everything we are funding is essential.

    Local councils should focus on local issues

    An article published in The West Australian on Thursday 8 May 2017

    Local governments play an important role in delivering a quality lifestyle. We pay rates to keep our parks in good nick, the potholes fixed and our bins to be emptied every week, right?


    I know councils do other things like deciding on planning applications and lobbying state and federal governments for help building new infrastructure. This level of government isn’t sexy and most of the time it’s not even that contentious. It’s all pretty basic, right?


    In 2015 I put my hand up in Bayswater to pressure Council to only attend to these basics. I received 854 out of a potential 10,500 eligible votes from North Ward. When I won I certainly didn’t expect my role to be anything more than representing locals on these issues, but my job changed last week when we met to discuss two bizarre motions from my colleagues.


    The first was to donate $5000 of ratepayer money to an international charity working to save lives in Africa.


    I thought I was sitting in a local council chamber, not in a sub-committee meeting of the United Nations.


    Putting aside the fact the Federal Government donated over $120 million since 2014 on behalf of all Australians to this worthwhile cause, no one around the table could tell me how this is a local government responsibility. Though, according to another colleague we are flush with funds.


    Really? Well let’s talk about capping rates, giving out charity at home or simply not spending it at all. It’s obvious too few of my colleagues think of pensioners struggling to pay their utilities/rates bills when they open their mouths. What about residents in Morley who received a letter a decade ago telling them underground power was on its way? They’re still waiting. Some suburbs don’t even have footpaths, yet Council prioritised making themselves feel noble over doing their job.


    Yes, the horrific loss of life in Africa needs to be addressed by the international community. No, the City of Bayswater Council is not a player on that level. The motion was defeated. Sanity restored, momentarily.


    We moved on to debate that the Bayswater Council publicly supports Same-Sex Marriage and writes to all WA MPs to inform them of our momentous decision. Malcolm Turnbull would also be contacted by the Mayor.


    Unbelievably, not a single signature on a petition was presented calling for such action. Considering we recently spent $100,000 on public consultation for a local water park refurbishment and to establish an Aboriginal advisory committee, it’s curious we didn’t spend a single minute or a single dollar consulting with all aspects of our broad community on something as important as a local council going ‘off mission’ by taking a position on Same-Sex Marriage.

    I was lectured at the meeting that Councillors must show leadership on this issue because we are the closest representatives to our community. I don’t consider 854 votes out of a possible 10,500 being particularly representative or being close to the bulk of the people I serve. I don’t consider it my Council role to be taking a stance on federal issues like the unfair treatment of WA in the distribution of GST revenue, the national security threat posed by Kim Jong-Un, changes to immigration policy, the ongoing debate on domestic gas policy, or any one of the many public policy issues in play right now.


    As we have now taken a position on Same-Sex Marriage, do we now take an official position on everything? It looks like the residents who email me from Morley every few months will be waiting another 10+ years for underground power because your local council is going to be very busy executing its new role. We’ll get to your rubbish bins eventually, don’t worry.


    Yes, polling shows support for equality in the legislation governing marriage. Yes, I largely agree with the outcomes detailed in the report from the Senate Select Committee which looked into the various and complex issues around this, but I am not a Federal Member of Parliament. My opinion as an elected representative matters when it comes to local planning matters, not marriage.


    To be clear, personally I do not care what two consenting adults do. Contrary to the immature comments I received on Facebook and from the public gallery, it is possible for me to support a Same-Sex Marriage Bill that addresses all concerns from our diverse population while also believing it has nothing to do with local government.


    Please, let’s keep local government local and leave these issues to our parliamentary representatives.

    Give them a drink!

    Drinking fountains with dog bowls being installed across the City

    Great news! Back in May 2016 with the endorsement of your Council, I asked for funds to be made available in the City Budget to install drinking fountains with dog bowls across our many parks and reserves.


    As of mid-June 2017 the City has progressed this project by installing fountains at Broun Park, Claughton Reserve, Arbor Park, Weld Square and Strutt Way Reserve.


    Further sites will be progressed soon!

    Limiting government overreach

    Fighting for reform.

    My 2015 campaign for local government was based largely on my ideas to reform how we tax and spend at the council level. A rate cap is a great way to force this level of government, which is an extension of the State, to live within its means. When we have the capacity after paying for all necessary services and capital works, only then should we spend ratepayer funds on arts projects. Larry Graham wrote a fantastic op-ed on this idea in 2015. I share his thoughts and will work hard to lobby my colleagues to implement a rate cap at Bayswater.

    Compulsory voting in local government elections

    Let's just concentrate on service delivery 

    Every two years the same debate is had - do we introduce compulsory voting at this level of government to boost voter engagement? Instead of looking at coercing people to engage at the ballot box, local governments (which are an extension of the State Government and are not a power unto themselves) should focus on delivering better value for money to all residents and businesses. We have a small but important job to do and to boost voter engagement for that sake alone is a fool's errand.


    In 2013, I wrote a raw blog piece after my experience of being belted at my first tilt at Council. It included a few different issues, but the conclusion addressed compulsory voting at this level of government. I believe in this statement now more than ever:


    "I know fixing roads, mowing lawns and disposing of garbage costs my local council money, but its purview should end there. Local governments must be made to recognise, by way of state legislation if necessary, the unsustainable practice of ridiculous rate rises and over-the-top spending. If we were to force people to vote in local government elections, just to be able to say people are now ‘engaged’ with grassroots politics, we would fail to address these alarming issues with local government entirely. Compulsory voting on local government elections would give councils a mandate which could only lead to further over-government and over-taxation in our country. This would be a disastrous outcome for what little freedom is left in Australia."

    Parking in Maylands

    Council is progressing an overall strategy to address severe parking problems

    With the growth of the Maylands hub along Whatley Crescent/Eighth Ave, parking has become a big problem for local residents, business operators, and commuters using the Maylands Train Station.


    Unfortunately it is taking a long time for Council to be presented with potential options to better address the overall parking issue for the suburb. We do not want to simply shift the problem to another area, which is why we've paid external consultants to assist. Stay tuned!

    Working together to make our city safer

    Local Police Teams

    We all have a role to play to make sure the City of Bayswater is safe and secure for residents, visitors, and local businesses.


    The City works closely with the Bayswater and Morley Local Police Teams to ensure we have a coordinated approach to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. Hooning continues to be a huge problem across Perth, so WA Police have been given more covert cameras to catch dangerous drivers in the act.


    If you want to talk about setting up a covert camera in a local hoon hotspot, or if you want to discuss any other community safety issue, simply search online for ‘Local Police Team Bayswater/Morley’ to find the mobile number of your local dedicated WA Police team.


    This new approach to community policing, called Frontline 2020, provides a way for residents to quickly pass on local intelligence while fostering a team effort in addressing crime in our suburbs.

    Maylands Waterland

    Failure to maintain over the years is costing us millions

    It is quite clear past councils have failed to adequately maintain this well-used asset, and now this Council is faced with a tough decision. Do we invest millions of dollars to simply keep Waterland as is? Do we close it down? Do we completely revamp it and make it a city-leading attraction? At our meeting on 8 March, Council resolved to spend $50,000 to fully engage with our community to get their input as to the future of this facility. I'm looking forward to hearing what our residents and ratepayers want, but a decision must be made sooner rather than later. 

    Bayswater Tennis Club

    Working to find a funding solution for necessary redevelopment

    In late March 2016, I introduced Senator Dean Smith to the President (Dan Kerrigan) and Juniors Coach (Anthony Harbrow) of the Bayswater Tennis Club to talk about their exciting plans for clubhouse redevelopment and court upgrades. This is one of the largest sporting clubs in the City with well over 600 members (including many local juniors). With the return of the Turnbull Government, a $750,000 contribution from Canberra has been guaranteed for this project. The hard work has paid off, with this project receiving planning approval and funding secured from the City budget.

    Pushing for a better Morley Bus Station

    Finding a solution for North Ward commuters 

    During the 2016 federal election campaign I invited Malcolm Turnbull's chief architect for liveable cities Hon Angus Taylor MP to visit several important sites around the City of Bayswater, including the Morley Bus Station, with the Liberal Candidate for Perth Jeremy Quinn and Senator Dean Smith. As the main public transport hub for residents living in Noranda, Morley and the surrounding suburbs, I wanted the Minister to see first-hand just how inadequate the infrastructure is in our part of the world. At a very minimum, I want to see more all day parking for commuters. Ideally, within ten years I want to see a rail station (light or heavy) providing a direct link with Perth's CBD. If our Prime Minister wants residents in this part of Perth to get to their destination within 30 minutes, then show us the money!!

  • Out and about

    As one of your elected representatives, I try to support as many local events and groups as possible.

    Community sport


    I am a big believer in the value of community sport. Getting our kids involved is a great way to develop social skills, to stay fit and active, and to build communities.


    This photo was taken at a game I umpired between the Edmund Rice Lions and the Butler Falcons. These AFL multicultural teams bring together communities which would otherwise miss out on opportunities to become even more involved in our much-loved Australian culture.

    Perth's Jewish Community


    North Ward is home to Perth's Chabad Shul. The local Jewish community are an asset to the City of Bayswater and to Western Australia. They deserve our support and I am extremely proud to be one of their elected representatives in local government and to be a member of the Friends of Israel WA.


    At every opportunity I attend events to hear from their guest speakers and to lend my support.


    This photo was taken at the 2015 Stand with Israel Peace Rally.

    Supporting small business


    Ensuring that local small businesses can navigate through a simple planning process is an important job for local government.


    Without a strong small business sector, our city would suffer. Together with my colleagues on the Bayswater Council (under the leadership of Cr Chris Cornish as Chairman of the Red Tape Reduction Working Group), we are focused on this task.


    This photo was taken at the opening of 'Honey I'm Home Produce' in 2015 - Railway Parade, Maylands.

    Working with our community groups


    2015 saw a transformation in the way residents of Bayswater interacted with their Council. Several community groups formed, all with varying views on the future of our city, but all committed to seeing the best outcome for their community.


    This photo was taken with Cr Dan Bull and Deputy Mayor Cr Steph Coates at The Backyard Artisan Market & Pop Up Bar hosted by the Baysie Rollers at 9-11 King William in December 2015.


    As a dog lover, Riverside Barkfest 2015 was probably my favourite community event.


    It was hosted by LACE, a not-for-profit group run in part by my colleague Cr Catherine Ehrhardt.


    My German Shepherd Bear has never had so many treats and toys bought for him in one day!


    This photo is with a hard-working LACE volunteer, Cr Ehrhardt, Cr Bull and his two hilarious kids.