FORMER WA Opposition leader Mike Nahan has told WA Parliament there needs to be an inquiry into Fremantle council.
Claiming only Liberal-leaning councils were being subjected to the blowtorch by the McGowan government, Mr Nahan said Fremantle’s finances were in disarray.
“Fremantle has announced it’s going to increase rates by 10 per cent. Why? Because it’s broke,” Mr Nahan told the Lower House.
Mr Nahan then went on to sing the praises of Melville council, saying it had managed to freeze its rates this year.
But like many others who’ve been confused by WA’s bizarre rate-setting rules, he’d simply botched the math.
Melville is actually increasing its rate in the dollar by around 13 per cent in order to maintain its rate take, while Fremantle’s is only going up 10 per cent for the same effect.
Despite that, Mr Nahan was unrepentant.
“The simple fact is the City of Melville is reducing the rates burden for its ratepayers because it has the financial capacity and the will to do so,” Mr Nahan later told the Herald.
“Overwhelmingly, residential and commercial ratepayers will pay less this year compared with last year, because of the measures the City of Melville has implemented that has cost the city over $10m in rates revenue.
“Conversely, as reported by your paper, mayor Brad Pettitt from Fremantle is proudly telling people that he is responsible for the state government lifting its “cap” on loans from WA Treasury Corporation, allowing the city to take on more debt, as it was worried it could run short of cash.
“[Fremantle] also has announced … that it’s going to reduce or stop mowing lawns on verges and the CAT bus system and other expenditure reduction mechanisms, because it doesn’t have any money.”
Dr Pettitt told the Herald he’d written to the Riverton MP and offered to bring down Freo’s CEO to “clear up the errors in his speech. The city is not broke – we are investing more than ever before in improving Fremantle,” Dr Pettitt said.
By STEVE GRANT