Freo set for change

FREMANTLE residents may wake up to a very different local council on October 20, with three new members guaranteed to be sworn in after the local government elections. Herald political contributor KAVI GUPPTA points out why it’s a hot race to election day.

Incumbent exits

DEPUTY mayor and two-term East Ward councillor INGRID WALTHAM is stepping down from the job. It’s a surprise exit for Ms Waltham who has displayed mayoral ambitions in the past. Her departure blows open the post-election fight for the deputy mayor position, and it will surely be a wily contest.

In Hilton, councillor JEFF MACDONALD has stepped down after one-term with sources citing Cr MacDonald’s frustrations with the workings of the council.

In Beaconsfield, councillor DAVE HUME is also departing after two-terms for personal reasons. Both vacancies open up the chance for existing and new councillors to nab seats on the planning, strategic planning, and transport committees. Cr Hume, who leans towards Labor, says he’ll be “very concerned if another Socialist Alliance candidate is elected”.

City Ward flare-up

Two-term incumbent RACHEL PEMBERTON faces challenges in City Ward from former deputy mayor JOHN DOWSON, and local resident JULIE MORGAN, who also ran in 2017. Cr Pemberton is counting on her long experience and mastery of the council process, while Ms Morgan and Mr Dowson battle it out over who can best manage the city’s future to revitalise retail and residential development. City Ward is Cr Pemberton’s race to lose, although she will have to heavily defend her track record on fostering opportunities for business, and demands for greater police street presence.

Comeback councillors

Former councillors Mr Dowson (City Ward), GEOFF GRAHAM (Beaconsfield), and TONY MIOSICH (Hilton) are unhappy with how the city’s finances are being managed. They believe past experience and a close eye on Fremantle’s wallet will spur voters to re-elect them. Mr Dowson, Mr Graham and Mr Miosich will have to sell voters on how to manage finances, keep rate increases low, while offering ideas for the city’s future.

Party allegiance

WA electoral law forbids local government candidates from formally running for political parties. However, this election cycle sees a field of candidates with allegiances and organising experience for state and federal parties.

Hilton candidate LYNN MACCLAREN is a former Greens MP. Her opponent FRANK MOFFLIN is a former branch president of Labor Willagee. Over in Beaconsfield, CHRIS JENKINS is a proud Socialist Alliance party member hoping to add another left-wing voice on council.

South Ward challenge

South Ward candidate MARIS VUJCIC is nominating again after nipping the heels of councillor Andrew Sullivan  in the ward’s re-contested 2017 election. Ms Vujcic is hoping to unseat three-term incumbent JON STRACHAN. “Maria is a seasoned campaigner,” said Cr Sullivan. “Jon Strachan would be foolish to not take her seriously.”

Ms Vujcic wants to remove the speed bumps on South Terrace, increase CCTV and lighting to improve community safety, all while having no rates increase in 2020/21.

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