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Anger rises over Tamala Park

THE City of Perth has labelled as blatant favouritism the State Government’s push to give Perth City Council’s breakaway towns an ownership stake in Tamala Park.

The lower house of State Parliament recently passed the Tamala Park Land Transfer Bill which, if endorsed by the upper house, will transfer one quarter of the city’s stake in the park to each of the Towns of Cambridge, Victoria Park and Vincent.

Perth City Council chief executive officer Gary Hunt said the Bill would reduce the city’s investment in the park, located in Mindarie, by 75 per cent, leaving them with an estimated $2.9 million stake in the land, valued at $35 million.

With Victoria Park falling into the electorate of Premier Geoff Gallop and Vincent into that of Perth MLA and former Vincent mayor John Hyde, suggestions of bias have been levelled at the Government by the PCC.

The PCC, together with the Cities Stirling and Wanneroo, purchased the 423-hectare park in 1981 for just $4.93 million and used a portion of it as a landfill site, earmarking the rest for future development.

When the council was split in 1994, the asset was not divided among the new councils and remained entirely with the PCC.

The PCC believes that, after paying out millions to the new towns in the restruct-

ure, it should not have to pay any more.

“The Perth City Council spent $56 million on setting up these towns and now they decide they need to put their hands in the cookie jar again,” Cr Michael Sutherland said.

“It is definitely favouritism … it is obvious (the new Government is) just looking after their own turf.”

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass agreed the towns were double dipping and warned the Government the State’s capital city would begin to suffer if it continued to be penalised.

But Perth MLA John Hyde rejected claims of favouritism, saying the only bias that occurred was when the park was excluded from the division of assets in the city restructure.

“There is a huge support for the Bill because it has been recognised as unjust that (the park) was not included in the split up of the City of Perth … at the time that asset was purchased the City of Perth included Cambridge, Victoria Park and Vincent” Mr Hyde said.

“And the ratepayers of those towns were paying rates to the then City of Perth so, in essence, they were paying for their own split up.”

Mr Hyde said the Bill had been supported in the Lower House by the Greens (WA), Nationals and four Independents and was likely to be endorsed by the upper house in the spring session of Parliament.

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