‘This council is not able to function’

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
Minister for Local Government David Templeman.
Camera IconMinister for Local Government David Templeman. Credit: Alexander Scott

The troubled Town of Port Hedland council has been dealt another blow after Minister for Local Government David Templeman publicly slammed it for failing to govern its community properly.

Mr Templeman visited the town to meet with the council last Wednesday and discuss details of the show cause notice the State Government issued it on May 31.

The notice was a culmination of almost a year of disarray, with former Kalgoorlie mayor Ron Yuryevich stepping in as a council mentor last July and recommending that all members be sacked five months later.

Speaking to media after the meeting, Mr Templeman said confidence had been lost in the council’s capacity to show good governance.

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He said the decision was based on a range of issues over more than 12 months and from information given by councillors, observations from meetings, and problems with potential breaches of the Local Government Act.

“All of these matters cumulatively led me to the decision that I think this council is not able to function in the best interest of the community that it should be serving and that it’s my intention to suspend them,” he said.

“They now have a couple of weeks to respond and demonstrate to me as to why that is not the appropriate course of action.”

Mr Templeman said he wanted the town to be the best it could be and that he did not believe that was the case at the moment. “I want to make sure that this community gets the best possible representation going forward and I want to make sure that we have good decisions made based upon good advice and good information, and deliver good local governing to a population that deserves it,” he said.

Mayor Camilo Blanco, pictured, said councils suspended in the past had problems coming to agreements on agendas and that was not the case with the Town. “While the council may be dysfunctional, we have tackled significant issues during our time in office, including the West End dust problem, the retirement village, and the Spoilbank Marina,” he said.

Mr Blanco said residents of Port Hedland should decide who represented them at the local election.

“The people need to decide, that’s their democratic right, to choose their representative, and I believe that’s the way the minister should go,” he said.

The Town of Port Hedland council has until June 21 to respond to the show cause notice.

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