Local Government Minister David Templeman has suspended the Town of Port Hedland council following ongoing complaints, appointing a former state MP as commissioner to administer the town.
The state government said it appointed Fredrick Riebeling as commissioner following numerous and ongoing complaints and concerns about the council over the past 18 months.
Mr Riebeling has been appointed commissioner for a period of six months.
He is a councillor with the City of Mandurah, former president of the Shire of Roebourne, and a former long-time member of state parliament.
Mr Riebeling most notably served as speaker of the Legislative Assembly from 2001 to 2008.
Mr Templeman said it was with regret he had to step in to suspend the council.
“Despite the appointment of a mentor last year and the assistance of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, these matters have not been resolved,” he said.
“Complaints were just one factor contributing to the show cause notice. I also identified a range of behaviours and failures that led to the notice being issued.
“The notice did not identify any individual councillors rather the notice was issued to the Council as a whole for failing to provide good governance of persons in the district.
“Ratepayers and residents of the Town of Port Hedland are entitled to expect that their elected members will provide leadership for the community and effectively manage and control operations in the town.”
Town of Port Hedland chief executive David Pentz said the administration of the town of acknowledged and respects the state government’s decision to immediately suspend the council and put a commissioner in place.
“As an organisation, our primary goal is to provide the people of Hedland with the highest possible quality of services,” he said.
“Our promise is to work closely with the commissioner to restore the community’s confidence in our ability to provide good governance and continue to provide quality services to ratepayers, stakeholders and the community.”
“I acknowledge it has been a very challenging period for employees, but I am confident the appointment of the commissioner will bring positive outcomes for the town.”