‘Let the city vote’

LORD mayoral candidate Di Bain says City of Perth ratepayers should get to vote in a plebiscite about whether the council keeps funding the lion’s share of Skyworks.

The event costs $2.7m a year and the council pays the vast majority, but businesses funding it through their rates don’t see much benefit in people sitting on the foreshore then hightailing it right after. 

“Businesses in the city aren’t feeling the economic positives of Skyworks,” Ms Bain says.

“If it’s so important to the state, then they should be funding the lion’s share of it. It’s fine for the city to contribute to a big event in the city, but not to be paying for the majority of it.”

Only a smidgeon gets spent on actual fireworks; a big part of the price tag goes to state government entities for road closures and emergency services.

Ms Bain said a plebiscite asking if voters wanted to continue funding the majority of the Skyworks could be done in parallel with October’s election, so the new council would be able to make an informed call. 

Council staff recently summarised community sentiment for commissioners: A resident and ratepayer survey showed a pretty even split for and against. An ABC subscriber poll showed 70 per cent voted against the 2021 Skyworks going ahead.

The staff summary of the 

“reputational risk” says there’s no pleasing everyone: Any changes to the three big events “has resulted in significant public outcry and negative state level media coverage”.

And even when the Skyworks does run as planned, “there is also traditionally some level of outcry due to cultural and environmental concerns associated with the history of 26 January and large-scale fireworks during bush fire season respectively. 

“In summary, whatever decision is made in relation to these events will likely result in some level of negative media coverage and public sentiment, particularly from residents and ratepayers.”

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