Four councillors voted against accepting the latest annual New Junction report saying the report contained inaccuracies. Picture: Anita McInnes

Deputy mayor votes for report ‘warts and all’

One councillor criticised the reference to the City of Swan’s strategy for ageing population July 2015 in the report saying it had been superseded.
May 30, 2024
Anita McInnes

DEPUTY mayor Ian Johnson has voted for the City of Swan’s annual New Junction report despite questioning some of the data presented in the 2022-2023 edition.

When the item came before the council his fellow Midland Guildford ward councillor Sarah Howlett put up a motion saying the council should decide not to receive the New Junction project and financial annual report 2022 – 2023 because the report contained inaccuracies.

After debate Cr Howlett’s motion was lost 4-11 and another Midland Guildford ward councillor Rashelle Predovnik moved the officer’s recommendation that the report be accepted, which was carried 11-4.

Cr Johnson said the New Junction report said 71 apartments in stage one were fully occupied but he didn’t think any of the apartments had been sold.

He said people could easily buy a house in Midland for the price of one of the apartments and that without the loss in the 2022-23 financial year the city might have had a rate rise of just 1.5 per cent instead of 3 per cent.

He was also critical of the net funding required, said the total debt figure in the report was different to what they had been told in budget workshops and questioned the city’s ability to pay for a new council chamber and administration centre.

“Page 349 (says) that the proposed new council chamber and admin building in Lot 803 are currently undergoing feasibility work,’’ he said.

“Well councillors I don’t think we can afford another council chamber or admin building – we’ve already got one we’re in it right now.

“(But) I’m going to vote to accept the report as I think it paints a clear picture of the New Junction.
“The report is aligned with the transparency principles of the local government act so the New Junction report should be accepted warts and all.’’

Cr Howlett’s earlier motion said the New Junction Project had failed to meet the strategic implications listed in the report including sustainable business growth and accelerated economic and employment growth.

Her motion said the report was misleading when referring to the ‘vacant land site, now known as the Catalyst development, as previously generating nil revenue for the city’.

“The ‘vacant site’ was previously a city-owned recreational ground known as Midland Oval and as such would not have been subject to paying rates,’’ the motion said.

“The report (also) states the New Junction as “already a favourite for Midland locals” this is an unqualified statement as no perception survey has been conducted with Midland locals demonstrating it is a favourite.

A staff member said the report was accurate but that the “already a favourite” statement was a reference to Gilberts as a favourite with Midland locals not the New Junction.

Cr Howlett asked when the New Junction project consisted of 32 individual projects.

“This is the first time that I’ve ever heard of this,’’ she said.

She said the 2022-23 report should have been confined to what had been achieved between July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 and criticised the reference to the City of Swan’s strategy for ageing population July 2015 in the report saying it had been superseded.

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