Get rid of bad eggs: mayor’s response

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
Port Hedland Mayor Camilo Blanco sent his response to the show cause notice issued to the Town of Port Hedland.
Camera IconPort Hedland Mayor Camilo Blanco sent his response to the show cause notice issued to the Town of Port Hedland. Credit: The West Australian, Simon Santi The West Australian

Port Hedland Mayor Camilo Blanco believes the entire nine elected members including himself should not be sacked amid complaints of dysfunction, poor decision making and staff bullying.

In response to a Show Cause notice to Local Government Minister David Templeman, Mr Blanco, pictured, said he was the only person who had complained to the State Government over the alleged behaviour of four councillors.

Mr Blanco said it was not procedural fairness to dismiss all of them especially when the Department of Local Government had not acted on information he sent DLG officials more than 18 months ago.

Earlier this month, Mr Templeman gave the Town of Port Hedland 21 days to explain why they should not be suspended in their entirety for up to six months.

A mentor appointed to the council last year to help improve relations ended up recommending the council’s dismissal, citing a lack of respect among elected members.

Mr Blanco was concerned suspension of the council could persuade the minister to remove the newly introduced rates levy on mining companies expected to generate $20 million additional income. “If the department remove the right to charge, no one will know until the council is reinstated, that potentially will be in two years,” he said.

“That is a catastrophic detriment to Hedland."

Mr Blanco said the Government should allow the next local government election to proceed in October while enforcing new legislation to remove individual council members that breach statutory obligations.

“It looks like the only way the council will stop this process would be if we agree to spend a few hundred thousand and take on the State Government, the risk is losing 20 plus million (dollars) compared to spending two hundred thousand, it’s a no-brainer in my opinion but I’m finding it hard to get the absolute majority decision required by council to go in that direction.”

Mr Blanco flagged a “political angle” to the potential suspension of Town of Port Hedland councillors. “I believe there is a strategy to remove me as mayor, because of the significant complaints submitted by myself,” he said.

A representative for the local government minister said the minister would consider the responses received and seek advice in relation to the way forward, and he would make a decision in due course.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails