Refuge backlash

HILTON councillor Sam Wainwright says his council probably erred by keeping locals in the dark over its plans for Warrawee women’s refuge.

The council voted in April to end it’s long-running association with Warrawee, blaming a Barnett government funding model that punishes councils by excluding them from CPI rises. The government will now look for a provider from the not-for-profit sector.

Locals have responded furiously to the decision, including Labor MP Simone McGurk who described it as “shameful”.

Ms McGurk agreed the state’s funding model was unfair but says it beggars belief the council couldn’t cough up the $100,000 needed. She says the council could have turned to ratepayers for support.

Cr Wainwright agreed the council should have taken note of how parents had bullied the state into backing down over the planned scrapping of Buster the Fun Bus in 2012.

The socialist says he was taken off-guard by councillors who’d previously stuck with Warrawee moving “over to the ‘get rid of it camp’”.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt acknowledges they didn’t think of harnessing community support, but said he voted against the funding offer because it had reached the point the council’s generosity was being “exploited”.

He says the council will spend the money it saves on its own anti-domestic violence measures, and with the state having to fully fund Warrawee, that’ll ultimately lead to more money being spent locally.

Former councillor Rose Pinter was “appalled”: “No longer the city of arts nor social justice,” she said.


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