Since my election in late 2015, I've worked hard with other interested Councillors to move our local government from the old and stereotypical council to a more efficient operation concentrating on transparent and accountable decision making.

    Restructuring for a more efficient operation

    In 2017 Council hired a new CEO to drastically change Bayswater's direction

    Soon after the 2015 election, it was clear the new Councillors wanted things to change in the City. After a thorough search, we hired a new CEO. As part of the bottom-to-top review of the entire organisation, Andrew Brien is now implementing a restructure with approval from Council.


    Finer details cannot be released yet, but the overall focus is on efficiency and removing unnecessary roadblocks to focusing squarely on improving the experience of our most important stakeholders: our residents and ratepayers.


    Over time, this restructure will save hundreds of thousands of ratepayer dollars and lead to faster customer service turnarounds in areas of planning and community development. Stay tuned for further updates!

    Ending the culture of entitlements

    Clothing and travel allowances are a thing of the past.

    Immediately after being elected in October 2015, I made ending Councillor entitlements my number one priority. We earn $30,900 in meeting fees per year plus allowances for IT/internet/phone usage. The days of claiming ratepayer funds to cover the cost of suits, ties, and junkets to New Zealand are over.


    In December 2015, with the support of six of my colleagues, I successfully lobbied Council to remove the ability for Councillors to claim an extra $1,000 per year for clothing expenses. 


    Thanks and acknowledgment must go to Councillors Coates, Bull, Ehrhardt, Sutherland, and Palmer for their support in discontinuing this antiquated 'entitlement'.


    Councillor Travel


    It is my unwavering belief that local councillors have no business travelling on the ratepayer dollar. We are charged with overseeing a grassroots community-focused organisation which delivers core services. We should be here in Perth to be available to our constituents. Whatever personal benefits are gained by face-to-face interactions had by Councillors on these trips are not worth the annual bill to ratepayers. Councillors can go if they wish, but they should pay for it and claim it on their individual tax return.


    With that in mind, I moved a motion at the 2 February meeting of Council to ban Councillor travel, to allow a smaller budget for the Mayor to represent us in Canberra when needed, and to allow for a smaller budget for Councillor training and conferences based in Perth. Unfortunately this motion was lost by one vote.


    Regardless of the defeat, thanks and acknowledgment must go to Councillors Coates, Bull, Ehrhardt, and Kenyon for their support on this.


    Click here to listen to my chat with Gary Adshead on 6PR regarding this important issue on 3 February 2016.

    Transparent travel reporting

    If I couldn't get travel budgets banned, we'll keep its use accountable!

    In a win for transparency and accountability, at our meeting on 8 March 2016, Council passed my motion which will see all travel details disclosed online for both Staff and Councillors. This is a Western Australian first. Councillors will also have to lodge a written report as to why the travel was taken, and to share lessons learnt. Councillors will also have to give this report verbally at the next available Council meeting. While I will never have to give such a report, or to make a disclosure on travel, I look forward to hearing my colleagues give their rationale for using ratepayer funds on junkets!

    Supporting Cr Cornish's plan to record all Council meetings online

    Removing barriers to keeping us accountable

    Cr Chris Cornish, our Deputy Mayor, has been on Council since 2011. He has long since argued meetings should be recorded and made available online so that residents who cannot make the meeting may go back and listen to discussion. Like many new Councillors, I was happy to support this move and am comfortable the cost is worth it.

    Increasing pensioner rebates

    Delivering on my election commitment

    Through my campaign in 2015, and even now after being elected, some mock my constant reminder that we have a lot of people doing it tough in our community. This report shows it's getting worse. I promise to always be a strong voice on the Bayswater Council for our aged pensioners.


    I'm so focused on keeping local taxes to a minimum because it obviously hits those who can't afford it the most. The previous State Government had a lot to answer for with its initial decision to cap its rates rebate, with approximately 1150 households across the City having been impacted. Even after its backflip, there are still around 60 households in the CoB which will have to pay more.


    In a great win, in January 2018, Council decided to take an in-depth look into how we can give more of a discount to our pensioners. More details will be released closer to the release of the 2018/2019 budget.

    Allowing locals to use Airbnb uninterrupted

    The case for such an onerous policy to regulate short-term accommodation has not been made.

    I am committed to ensuring that local government stays within its core service delivery purview, so when new regulation is proposed I am always cautious of overreach. I was interviewed by Gary Adshead on 6PR about the City's proposal to regulate short-term accommodation. The now-defeated proposition was to require residents who letted a room or property out online through services such as AirBnB to lodge extensive and over-the-top plans. The penalty for not doing so was in the region of $200,000. Click here for our chat before our December 2015 meeting, and then after the meeting to summarise what happened, and to talk more generally about my ideas for local government reform.

    Caretaker election period provisions

    A caretaker policy during Council elections is vital

    During my election campaign in 2015 I was shocked to witness the behaviour of some incumbent Councillors abusing their authority by moving motions which both spent ratepayer funds on pet projects and progressed blatant political agendas to further their careers at a Council meeting just 5 days before polling day. To ensure this never happens again, together with the support of fellow new Councillors Dan Bull and Catherine Ehrhardt, we all worked hard on getting Council to endorse a caretaker policy. This policy, amongst other detail, makes sure that once the official election period begins (as managed by the WA Electoral Commission), no Council meeting can be held and that all decisions/spending measures in this period are severely limited/delegated to the CEO. You can view this policy by clicking here. I am very proud of this policy, and look forward to every single Local Government in Western Australia following this example of good governance.