The Western Suburbs Alliance (WSA) released the statement below on June 29.
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WSA has been formed by members of community groups and individuals in Claremont, Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Peppermint Grove, Nedlands and Subiaco concerned about the growing wave of fear, anger and alienation across the western suburbs resulting from the erosion of our democratic rights and the threats to our communities and built and natural environment by the Barnett Government.
Many of these issues have featured prominently in the local press: Cottesloe Foreshore Development, the Waratah Avenue development, Dalkeith, developments in Subiaco and the Perth Waterfront Development.
The launch of WSA was marked by the publication of a letter (see overleaf)in the POST newspaper signed by 38 high-profile western suburbs professionals and community leaders who have rallied against the Barnett government on planning and amalgamation issues.
The signatories represent a range of interest groups, including local councils, SOS Cottesloe, Keep Cott Low, SOS Subiaco, the Nedlands Electors’ Association, People against Density Dalkeith and the City Gatekeepers.
The objectives of WSA are to:
• Campaign for the restoration of the democratic rights of the voting public. Local government decision making has been taken away from us by Premier Colin Barnett and his Planning Minister John Day.
• Provide local communities with better information and a greater say on matters important to them.
•Ensure that our communities’ needs and aspirations take precedence over developers’ commercial interests or state government ideologies.
• Restore the right of appeal on planning matters now denied us by the WA Planning Commission, Department of Planning and Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.
• See an end to the draconian, undemocratic Development Assessment Panel (DAP) system that lacks transparency and foists unwanted major developments on our communities, and the control of these planning decisions returned to our Councils. (The independent consultants who control DAP are beholden to developers rather than the community who have to live with the subsequent decisions over which they have had little or no say).
• Oppose any enforced restructuring of our local governments which lacks demonstrated evidence and local community and local government support, and which denies the right of community veto.
WSA is NOT a political party. It crosses political boundaries and represents organisations and individuals who want more say over their environment. It aims to inform the public about, and gain their views on, changes in the planning laws and issues of local government amalgamation.
WSA is NOT against change, development and voluntary local government re structuring.
WSA IS opposed to the wide planning powers delegated to the Minister for Planning and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, any forced reorganisation of local government or reorganisation without evidence and community endorsement, and state government denial of community viewpoints and submissions.
The WSA website (http://www.westernsuburbsalliance.org/) details the facts and invites readers to register for membership. Emails on the issues and actions needed may also be sent to email@example.com.
WSA’s essential position is that the local communities must be informed and have reasonable control over decisions that they have to live with long term. This is the core of democracy and part of the Australian culture. This right has been taken away from us by the Barnett government.
[Further details from WSA Convenor Colin Latchem (Tel 08 9386 3746) email firstname.lastname@example.org.]
WSA letter to Perth’s Post Newspapers
What will it take for Premier Barnett, Planning Minister John Day, and Minister for Environment; Water Bill Marmion and the Liberal Government to respond to the growing wave of fear, anger and alienation across the western suburbs?
What will it take for them to acknowledge how much we resent the erosion of our democratic rights and threats to our communities and built and natural environment?
Do they really feel they can go on treating us with utter contempt whenever we express our views on these matters?
Fourteen thousand of us signed petitions against the Cottesloe beachfront development and 11,000 regarding the Perth Waterfront Development and rerouting of Riverside Drive. The electors made 800 submissions against the five-storey Waratah Avenue Development in Dalkeith. Subiaco has been overwhelmed with protests against high-rise developments. And we have written to our public representatives. All to no avail.
All of these developments are quick-fix, unwanted and undesirable state government moves to create higher density, high rise development as dictated by Directions 2031 and thrust upon us by the Western Australian Planning Commission.
In 2010, Parliament gave the Minister for Planning the powers to instigate any rezoning or approve any development without consultation and without any means of appeal. These powers have taken away our Councils’ approvals for many developments over $3 million and for all developments over $7million.
The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority Act of 2011 entitles the government to sell off any parkland and public land for development. Make no mistake. No-one and nowhere is safe from the developers.
To further strengthen his control, the Premier states that he wishes to have fewer Councils. The Metropolitan Review of Local Government (Robson Report) has given him exactly the options he wants — an over-sized City of Perth, or a few enormous local government authorities. Any structural change must be supported by demonstrated evidence of the economic and social benefits and must be subject to community veto.
The Premier continues with his reckless plans regardless of well-researched, well- considered and well-argued professional, local government, community and individual submissions on planning and local government management issues.
We now learn that a secretive fund raising group of millionaires and property developers, the ‘Leaders’ Forum’ is, in their own terms, “telling Ministers how to conduct their affairs”.
This is the death of democracy, the denial of the right to have a say on the nature of our communities, our neighbourhoods and our lifestyle. We elect people to represent us in government. We then expect open consultation and constructive dialogue to ensure that the communities’ needs and aspirations take precedence over developers’ commercial interests or state government ideologies. And we want the right of appeal. Our children and grandchildren will live with the outcomes of bad planning.
This is not a Liberal versus Labor issue. It is the people versus the destruction of the urban environment and lifestyle we love and hold in trust for future generations.
Unfettered power in the hands of any one group or individual leads to arrogance, bad decision making, cronyism and corruption. It is time to make our voices heard. We are forming a Western Suburbs Alliance (WSA) and invite all community groups and individuals who share our concerns to visit our website (www.westernsuburbsalliance.org/), join the WSA, share their thoughts on the issues raised and suggest the actions needed.
Colin Latchem – Dalkeith (Convenor)
Ken Eastwood AM - Dalkeith
Chris Wiggins - Cottesloe
Pat Carmichael - Cottesloe
Scott Arbuckle – Subiaco
Tony Brand AM - Cottesloe
Anne Christie - Churchlands
Paul Clements - Subiaco
Tony Costa AOM - Subiaco
Richard Diggins AOM – Subiaco
Ken Eastwood AM - Dalkeith
John Hammond - Cottesloe
Dr Bruce Haynes – Claremont
Heather Henderson – Subiaco
Max Hipkins – Nedlands
Elaine Jacoby - Dalkeith
Mal Jacoby - Dalkeith
Bill James – Nedlands
Toni James – Nedlands
Derek Leeder – Subiaco
Helen Leeder - Shenton Park
Paola Lovi - Dalkeith
Dr Linley Lutton - Doubleview
Julie Matheson – Subiaco
Patsy Millett - Dalkeith
John Milner - Peppermint Grove
Wayne Monks - Wembley Downs
Kevin Morgan – Cottesloe
Ron Norris – Mosman Park
Helen Passmore – Shenton Park
Brian Prentice - Subiaco
Maxine Prentice - Subiaco
Dr Linda J. Rogers - Subiaco
Emeritus Professor Martyn Webb - Dalkeith
Kerry Walker – Nedlands
Jack Walsh – Cottesloe
Margaret Wilkes - Cottesloe
Paul Wilkes – Cottesloe