Town high on dis­grun­tled list

North West Telegraph - - Front Page - Tay­lar Amonini

Com­plaints and con­cerns about the Town of Port Hed­land are com­ing from all di­rec­tions as Mayor Camilo Blanco re­veals he was per­son­ally re­spon­si­ble for many of them in the past 18 months.

The Town of Port Hed­land had the third-high­est num­ber of Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Sport and Cul­tural In­dus­tries in­ves­ti­ga­tions over the past four years, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures tabled in Par­lia­ment.

The Shire of Wyn­d­ham East Kim­ber­ley had the high­est num­ber at 103, ahead of the Shire of York (52), the Town of Port Hed­land (41), and the cities of Melville (33) and Perth (31).

The fig­ures rep­re­sent in­ves­ti­ga­tions, not just com­plaints, but do not in­clude cor­re­spon­dence out­lin­ing griev­ance or dis­sat­is­fac­tion re­lated to lo­cal gov­ern­ment. Mr Blanco said he was not sur­prised by the out­come, ad­mit­ting he per­son­ally had made “about 40” com­plaints in the past 18-24 months.

“I’ve sub­mit­ted a num­ber of breaches and it’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act is up­held in all ar­eas and the stan­dard of the Town of Port Hed­land coun­cil re­mains at the ex­treme high level and that our coun­cil­lors are above re­proach — and if that means I have to sub­mit breaches on coun­cil­lors then that’s what I’m go­ing to do,” he said.

“It was high­lighted re­cently in the City of Perth in­ci­dents whether the mayor had 40-odd breaches on her on fi­nan­cial-re­lated is­sues.

“In my opin­ion, be­cause the depart­ment . . . acted very slowly, coun­cil­lors across the State get the im­pres­sion that they can look at the depart­ment as weak and they can get away with breach­ing the laws around fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests.”

Ac­cord­ing to a Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Sport and Cul­tural In­dus­tries spokes­woman, the 41 probes in­cluded se­ri­ous and mi­nor breaches of the Act.

“Not all records in the database re­sult in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, how­ever the depart­ment assesses each record and takes ac­tion ac­cord­ingly,” she said.

“Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Stan­dards Panel mat­ters are in­cluded in this fig­ure.”

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