Dive in, Barnaby

FEDERAL Perth Labor MP Patrick Gorman has called on deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce to step in and plug the pool funding gap with federal money if need be. 

Mr Joyce is now infrastructure minister overseeing the “City Deals” between federal, state and local governments.

But Perth council’s commitment was never set in stone. 

Last September, just weeks before the new council was elected, the state government-appointed commissioners held a private virtual meeting to confidentially discuss the pool plan.

There was no agenda published before or after, just a veiled item description that they were discussing “Major Infrastructure Projects”.

They voted to set aside 

$25million for the pool “subject to” the future council endorsing a business case and reaching an agreement with the WACA over who pays for what.

With the council still crunching the numbers and looking nervous over the hefty spend, Mr Gorman wrote to Mr Joyce: “The City Deal included a commitment to the East Perth pool as part of the WACA redevelopment. 

“The pool is now at risk of being cancelled due to a lack of consultation before the deal was announced. I urge you to consider funding the gaps of this project so it can start immediately.

“The City Deal process is federal government led. It was your government that promised my community of East Perth this facility…despite grand announcements and photo-ops I’m concerned about a lack of follow-up in the last nine months.”

Mr Gorman penned the letter on June 28, a day before the council was scheduled to vote, but the covid lockdown’s delayed the outcome a week. 

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