Minister quiet on subcommittee
A Cabinet subcommittee formed amid fanfare last year to develop the WA coast has become a State secret, with the Government refusing to reveal what it has achieved or when it has held meetings.
Proposals to wake up sleepy Coral Bay, develop the Abrolhos, and prise open the pristine South Coast were revealed by Premier Colin Barnett in June last year when he put Deputy Premier Kim Hames in charge of the coastal towns and settlements Cabinet subcommittee.
Dr Hames set a 12-month target to investigate access, services, infrastructure and land tenure issues with the aim of increasing tourism and exploring new development opportunities along WA’s 13,000km coastline.
“My KPI is to make sure that before the end of the year I have presented to Cabinet options for all three sites, with detailed planning of what we think we should do, what the costs might be of doing that and the timetable in which we would do it, ” Dr Hames said on June 13 last year.
Requests for an update on his “KPI” or a list of meeting dates and ministerial attendees were denied on the basis of Cabinet confidentiality.
Affected local government authorities are in the dark.
Greater Geraldton mayor Ian Carpenter said while the Abrolhos Islands came under the control of the Department of Fisheries, the council would “need to get involved at some stage”.
Esperance Shire president Malcolm Heasman said it had had “no dialogue as such” with the subcommittee, but noted that Cape Le Grand National Park was under State control.
Carnarvon Shire president Karl Brandenburg said members of the subcommittee had visited Coral Bay and decided to adopt in full the council’s settlement structure plan.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the subcommittee appeared to have more to do with visiting Dr Hames’ favourite fishing destinations, revealed in a 2011 interview to be Coral Bay, the Abrolhos and Walpole, than improved governance.
Colin Barnett has put Deputy Premier Kim Hames in charge of the coastal towns and settlements Cabinet subcommittee.