Stirling demolishes bruising report

STIRLING has joined a burgeoning list of local governments to condemn the WA Property Council of Australia for producing a shoddy report on planning performance.

Released earlier this month, the ‘Benchmarking greater Perth local governments’ report ranked councils on how up-to-date their planning schemes were, how much they delegated to officers, and how quickly they processed applications.

The WA property council said Melville and Belmont were the only local governments to meet expectations across all four criteria, but Cockburn quickly slammed the report for being superficial, and East Fremantle said it missed crucial information.

Now Stirling is crying foul as well, lashing out at the report for being “inaccurate” and “entirely unhelpful”.

Acting CEO Ross Povey said there were errors in the report which caused Stirling to rank eighth out of 29 when it should have placed equal fourth.

He also noted Stirling’s excellent performance reporting, which was ignored by the WA property council because too few councils provided data in this criteria.

“It is fair to say if it is incorrect for us, then it is probably incorrect for other local governments, and WA Local Government Association has been highly critical of the report, labelling it ‘erroneous’,” Mr Povey said.

“As far as the performance of the city goes, the facts speak for themselves and our concerns with the report will be taken up directly with the property council.”

Mayor John Carey said Vincent (which ranked 12th on the report) didn’t shy away from benchmarking, but they did think it was unfair the property council gave low marks for their dated planning scheme when they had a new scheme awaiting WAPC approval for two years.

Mr Carey said upping their planning game was a priority for Vincent, which has recently appointed a new planning director to speed up approval times.

Deadline

Claremont and Victoria Park didn’t submit data for the voluntary survey, and Bayswater councillor Brent Fleeton found out his council wasn’t included because staff didn’t submit the information to the property pouncil by the deadline.

by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM

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