Coun­cil acts on travel con­cerns

Joondalup Weekender - - Front Page - Lucy Jarvis

CON­CERNS about com­ply­ing with the Lo­cal Govern­ment Act have prompted Wan­neroo Coun­cil to de­fer a de­ci­sion on send­ing a del­e­ga­tion to Ja­pan and Sin­ga­pore in July.

Coun­cil­lors con­sid­ered a re­port at their May 9 meet­ing that had rec­om­mended chief ex­ec­u­tive Daniel Simms, Mayor Tracey Roberts, Deputy Mayor Dianne Guise and plan­ning and sus­tain­abil­ity direc­tor Mark Dick­son go on the three-day trip.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the del­e­ga­tion would meet the Yanchep Beach Joint Ven­ture (YBJV) board, in­clud­ing board mem­bers from the Tokyu Cor­po­ra­tion, re­gard­ing de­vel­op­ment of the Yanchep-Two Rocks area.

Dis­cus­sions would in­clude ini­ti­at­ing a re­view of the 1999 strate­gic co-op­er­a­tion agree­ment, which also in­volved the State Govern­ment, and the 2003 mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU).

The re­port said the trip could cost $4000 to $8000 per per­son, with the del­e­ga­tion meet­ing the Sin­ga­pore Ur­ban Re­de­vel­op­ment Author­ity on the third day.

Dur­ing dis­cus­sion on Tues­day night, Coun­cil­lor Brett Treby raised con­cerns about whether it was ap­pro­pri­ate for elected mem­bers to be in­volved.

Cr Treby, who de­clared an im­par­tial­ity in­ter­est on the item due to his friend­ship with YBJV em­ployee and for­mer Wan­neroo mayor Jon Kelly, re­ferred to a 2009 Cor­rup­tion and Crime Com­mis­sion re­port into the coun­cil of the day.

He said the then-deputy mayor was found to have breached the Act and that elected mem­bers should refuse any in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend meet­ings be­tween a de­vel­oper and staff as it “in­hibits free and frank dis­cus­sion”.

“If we don’t learn from these things, we would be doomed to re­peat them,” Cr Treby said.

The Cen­tral Ward coun­cil­lor said the coun­cil should adopt a “bench­mark that would with­stand scru­tiny of any in­de­pen­dent re­view process”.

He also raised con­cerns that the trip in­volved ne­go­ti­a­tions about the MoU, say­ing the rec­om­men­da­tion did not set out the coun­cil’s po­si­tion for those ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“The ob­jec­tives are of a strate­gic na­ture; there will be no de­ci­sion mak­ing un­til such time as coun­cil has had an op­por­tu­nity to re­view the MoU,” gov­er­nance and le­gal man­ager Mustafa Yildiz said.

Coun­cil­lors unan­i­mously sup­ported Mrs Roberts’ pro­ce­dural mo­tion to re­fer the re­port back to the chief ex­ec­u­tive to ad­dress the con­cerns.

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