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Councillors fear power erosion

PERTH City Councillors are concerned the new WA Government-proposed Central Perth Planning Committee will further erode their control of the CBD.

At council’s 24 August meeting, councillors insisted Planning Minister Graham Kierath be told the legislative responsibilities and rights of council be “retained and respected” and asked if council could have an additional elected member appointed to the committee.

It had been proposed the committee be made up of the chairman of the WA Planning Commission, the CEO of the Ministry for Planning, a community representative, a business representative and Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass.

The committee is designed to deal with land under the control of the WAPC such as the Northbridge urban renewal area over the Graham Farmer Freeway tunnel.

However, a large chunk of the CBD is already under the control of another statutory body, the East Perth Redevelopment Authority.

Councillor Laurance Goodman said council would be outnumbered on the committee, with four members being Ministerial appointees.

“I approve of us talking to other stakeholders,” Mr Goodman said. “I believe this committee is a step in the right direction but I feel it is an erosion of council’s powers.

“It appears to me that to become involved in the planning of the city, you don’t even have to be elected anymore.

“Our patch of Perth has shrunk. I feel left out of the control of planning and the future of Perth. I feel a lot of decisions about the city are not being made in this chamber.”

Dr Nattrass said he empathised with Mr Goodman.

“However, assuming the powers of the WAPC and council don’t change, this committee will only have jurisdiction over areas under WAPC control,” he said.

“You could put the argument that control of planning in the City of Perth is enhanced by our being on the committee.

“A number of people at the WAPC made it clear to me that there is no legislative change planned concerning the council’s powers.

“We don’t want there to be a perception that the WAPC is taking over any of the areas under council jurisdiction,” he said.

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