Monthly Report - July 2023
General update of my activities as a Councillor from 12 June to 10 July that I have participated in:
9 - Meetings, Briefings, Committees of Council
11 - Community events
3 Meetings with City Officers relating to Resident issues.
6 Meetings with Residents/Ratepayers about their issues.
4 days - Canberra for National Congress, Australian Council of Local Governments and meetings with Federal Ministers.
City of Bayswater Annual Budget
The Annual Budget was adopted 7 votes for and 4 against.
For the first time ever in our budget planning process we have been using service plans. Service plans, introduced as part of Council-led business planning, clearly define and cost all of the City’s services and projects and have made it one of the deepest dives Councillors have been afforded into the budget process. Councillors had regular budget workshops over the course of six months to all have their say.
This year we have kept the rate increase as low as possible at 4.95%. This is less than the Perth CPI of 5.8%. Just like our ratepayers, we are faced with an increase in the cost of building materials, petrol and utilities and these significantly impact our operations.
This budget includes (to name just a handful):
• 3.8 million for our Libraries
• 1.2 million for the Riverside Gardens Urban Forest
• 1.2 million for a bike path to connect Bayswater to Morley
• 6.2 million for underground power
• 13.8 million for community amenities
• 1.3 million for the low cost urban safety program
• 1.5 million for foreshore and riverbank stabilisation
In my personal opinion, voting against the budget votes against funding for any of these great initiatives.
I would like to congratulate Councillor Ostaszeweskyj for his contribution of suggested amendments to the budget. I did not support them, and the Amendment was ultimately lost, it was refreshing to have a Councillor present an amendment in advance with an identified list as a ‘solution’ to what they thought needed to change. It is very easy to just vote against and provide no solutions for colleagues to consider.
City of Bayswater Long Term Financial Plan and Corporate Business Plan
The Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) was supported 9 votes for and 2 against.
The LTFP has not been reviewed since 2017, and was adopted in June as Financial envelopes (this budgeting system divides “income” into different categories). The LTFP will be reviewed during the Mid-Year Budget review so that all projects can go through a prioritisation matrix, proper costings, and identification of funding sources.
The Corporate Business Plan (CBP) was supported 8 votes for and 3 against.
I whole heartedly thank the Friends of Maylands Brickworks for their passion, openness for consultation, and their patience in development of my amendment for the Brickworks item on the June Council meeting Agenda. I am pleased to say that the alternate motion* I put forward was supported by Council.
The vote was 8 for and 2 against (Cr Michelle Sutherland was on leave for the June OCM). Thank you to Councillor Ostaszeweskyj for seconding my motion.
I put forward this amendment as it better reflects community expectations for the Brickworks, and preserves a building is of not only important historical value but also an important piece of industrial architecture.
Our most pressing concern is stabilisation of the kiln. We also need to preserve the Maylands Brickworks reserve area. I have never supported more residential development in that area.
The other thing that my amendment will achieve is opening of a portion of the site as soon as practicable for community access and community activation by way of licence agreement with the Friends of Maylands Brickworks for usage of the Change rooms and Gatehouse buildings for meetings, art displays, historical displays etc. I aim to protect the Maylands Brickworks for Future generations, and maintain the heritage and iconic architecture of the Brickworks area.
In response to the request from the Friends of Maylands Brickworks my motion provided for an M.O.U. with the City that formalises the ability of the group to seek funding from external sources.
*Alternate motion that was adopted by Council has been provided to the MRRA and is included at the end of the Agenda/Minute Papers.
I have been contacted by several ratepayers from rumours being spread. I will reiterate the questions and answers here.
Why did you not support an amendment to put money onto the long term financial plan for the Brickworks?
The Long Term Financial Plan was adopted just 6 days previous to the Brickworks item coming to Council for resolution. To ensure the City’s financial sustainability over the long term all new projects need to be fully costed and considered by Council alongside its other priorities and projects before it is included in the LTFP. To have supported that amendment would be to do exactly what the Paxon** Report said not to do, and is bypassing proper process.
**In 2022 an independent analysis of the City’s financial sustainability was conducted by the Paxon Group and endorsed by Council in March 2023. I have provided a copy to the MRRA for inclusion at the end of their Agenda and Minutes – for those that receive hard copies. Highly encourage everyone to read it, the link to the report is here: https://www.bayswater.wa.gov.au/CityOfBayswater/files/c6/c63d8632-e528-4604-b558-d8b528c9b0f5.pdf
Why can’t you use Public Open Space Cash-In-Lieu Funding to pay for the project?
There are several factors – As the Brickworks is owned freehold by the City, it is not zoned “Public Open Space”, and with the works being considered “maintenance” we are unable to utilise the Public Open Space Cash-in-Lieu fund to pay for the works. In any event, there is not enough in the fund to undertake these works anyway.
Have you been advocating for funding for the Brickworks?
Yes. I have spoken with several WA based Federal Senators, and WA State politicians over the years seeking support and funding for the Maylands Brickworks. Last year the Mayor and I raised this with the Hon Catherine King - Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government in Canberra in 2022. Unfortunately the funding opportunity that she mentioned was not ultimately supported in the Federal Budget.