Huge numbers turned up to a robust rally last weekend to demand Vincent be kept together.
And within four days, Colin Barnett, WA’s increasingly
flip-flop premier, caved in.
About 1200 people flooded Angove Street last Saturday to oppose plans to split Vincent and hand everything north of Vincent Street to neighbouring Stirling council, with the southern part going to Perth.
But on Wednesday the premier, fresh from a huge backflip on solar tariff cuts, flipped again stating he would now not oppose all of Vincent going to Perth.
“If [Perth and Vincent] agree and perhaps put in a joint proposal and the local government advisory board thinks it’s sensible, I’m sure the government will think it’s sensible too,” he told ABC radio.
Vincent mayor Alannah MacTiernan has already met with Perth lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi asking for her help to keep Vincent together.
Perth’s support is vital. If it baulks, the premier is likely to stick with his split plan.
“I think the lord mayor was generally sympathetic but this is a matter that has to determined by the [Perth] council,” Ms MacTiernan said.
Vincent councillor Dudley Maier said some myths needed to be busted: “We have to debunk some of the misinformation that’s been out there.”
He says Stirling mayor David Boothman’s widely reported estimate of Beatty Park debt at $15 million was way off, with the actual number being $7.82m and the centre expected to turn a profit by next year. “It’s not a basket-case that’s bleeding money.”
At the rally, local businessman Joe Saraceni—from Vastese Bakery just north of the proposed Perth-Stirling border—defended Vincent as a lively inner-city community, and he feared being swallowed up by a big suburban council with less time for individuals wouldn’t be good for his business.
Vincent councillor John Carey told the crowd, “it won’t be politicians who will win this battle, it’ll be good old-fashioned people power”.
Perth Liberal MP Eleni Evangel took to the stage to publicly declare her support for keeping Vincent together while Cr Carey proposed a campaign to change the government’s mind: Paint the town purple with “one-in, all-in” campaign posters; email politicians; write to the papers, and use new media.
He also asked everyone at the rally to talk to another two people about the issue, and asked for volunteers to put their hands up and become street coordinators.
by DAVID BELL