Town of Port Hedland council suspended

Glenn Cordingley and Alexander ScottThe West Australian

The Town of Port Hedland council has today been suspended by the State Government for six months amid complaints of bullying, harassment, in-fighting and dysfunction.

Minister for Local Government David Templeman said he had taken action due to significant complaints and concerns over the past 18 months.

The suspension means councillors will be forbidden from engaging with council staff or making decisions.

The terms for four councillors expires in October, leaving five to return at the end of the six-month ban.

Local Government elections in Port Hedland were due to be held in October and it is now believed those elections would be held in January or February next year.

Suspended Mayor Camillo Blanco said it was a disappointing result for a council that had achieved so much in a relatively short space of time.

But he said the action revolved around the significant nature of complaints submitted by himself.

“I am hoping the subsequent investigation will result in the community understanding their elected members should conduct themselves to a high standard and play their roles by the book,” he said.

Mr Templeman said the council failed to provide any compelling reasons or justification to allay concerns about the its future capacity to govern following a show cause notice issues last month.

“Ratepayers and residents of the Town of Port Hedland are entitled to expect that their elected members will provide leadership for the community and effectively manage and control operations in the town,” he said.

On May 31, Mr Templeman gave the nine elected members 21 days to demonstrate why they should not be suspended with the council responding in June.

The notice was a culmination of almost a year of disarray.

Former Kalgoorlie Mayor Ron Yuryevich stepped in as a council mentor last July and recommended all members be sacked five months later.

City of Mandurah councillor Fredrick Riebeling has been appointed as the commissioner for the period.

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