Ambition not so high

• Matt Woodall with Opposition leader Zak Kirkup.

IF Melville councillor Matthew Woodall wins the state seat of Bateman as expected at next Saturday’s state election, he’s pledged to do what he can to bring WA’s planning mandarins to the Canning Bridge precinct to get a better outcome for residents.

Saying the “stars aligned” for his somewhat surprising preselection ahead of more senior figures in the party, Cr Woodall says being at local government level he gets a perspective from residents the state’s planners need to hear.

“People are not anti-development – in fact most actually want it – but they want it within reason.

“Ten to fifteen-storey towers are ok, but how did we get to 25 storeys – how did we get to 30 storeys.

“I think you have to have the different organisations sit down and talk together about what needs to be done to address the issues in the area,” he said, noting there seemed to be a lot of one-way traffic coming from the WA Planning Commission.

“We are elected by the community, but the WAPC is not elected, and they don’t have the same local knowledge.”

Cr Woodall believes there is scope for more oversight in the state’s planning processes.

“I’ll be fighting for reforms to our planning system to give local communities a greater say in decision making and calling for the introduction of a planning ombudsman to resolve planning issues,” he said.

Retiring Bateman MP Dean Nalder suffered a 15 per cent swing at the 2017 election following a redistribution, and despite a predicted state-wide swing to the McGowan government of around 6 per cent the seat is still expected to be safe enough to ensure Cr Woodall one of a handful of Opposition seats.

But Opposition leader Zak Kirkup, if he survives in his own ultra-marginal seat, will need some buttressing and Cr Woodall has been able to secure a reasonable swag of commitments on the very-off-chance of a Liberal victory.

They include:

• $1 million for a “premier play space project” at Bob Gordon Reserve in Bull Creek;

• $750,000 to upgrade the Kardinya Sports Association changerooms;

• $100,000 to upgrade Applecross RSL hall;

• $300,000 to realign the shared path at Alfred Cove and restore the shoreline; and,

• $71,000 for new cricket nets at Winthrop Park.

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