No confidence motion at electors meeting

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
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City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley and councillors Kelly Hick, Kate Cox, Jo Barrett-Lennard, Phil Cronin, Lyndon Miles, Paul Carter, Ross Paine and Sue Riccelli will face a no confidence motion if a special electors meeting goes ahead.
Camera IconCity of Busselton mayor Grant Henley and councillors Kelly Hick, Kate Cox, Jo Barrett-Lennard, Phil Cronin, Lyndon Miles, Paul Carter, Ross Paine and Sue Riccelli will face a no confidence motion if a special electors meeting goes ahead. Credit: Sophie Elliott/Busselton Dunsborough Times, Sophie Elliott

The City of Busselton has blocked a petition signed by more than 160 ratepayers calling for a special electors’ meeting informing the action group a meeting could not take place during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

The Busselton Dunsborough Ratepayers Action Group intends to move a motion of no confidence in City of Busselton councillors and chief executive Mike Archer at the proposed meeting.

The motion will be moved by the action group after it expressed concern over the lack of community consultation regarding the increasing cost of the Busselton Entertainment Arts Cultural Hub.

The action group will need to resubmit the petition with the correct form to be accepted under the Local Government Act. In a letter obtained by the Times, City of Busselton acting chief executive Oliver Darby said a special electors’ meeting would not take place until after the COVID-19 state of emergency had lifted.

“We are of course currently in a declared state of emergency; which does limit our ability to hold special elector meetings,” he said.

“You may not be aware, but the minister released an order, the Local Government (Covid-19 Response) Order 2020, which modified Section 5.28 of the Act such that a special electors’ meeting is not able to be held during the COVID emergency period and instead is to (be) held on a day selected by the mayor or president, not more than 35 days after cessation day.”

Action Group president Anne Ryan said she had written to Local Government Minister David Templeman requesting a solution so ratepayers could be heard on the issue as soon as possible.

“It is ironic that in phase four we can attend concerts with a 35,000 person capacity but not hold an electors’ meeting.

“The City appears to be going full steam ahead regardless of the submitted petition,” she said.

“We don’t believe the council are listening to ratepayers and we think they are out of touch.”

During a council meeting on June 24 City of Busselton deputy mayor Kelly Hick said the developer of a recently approved hotel on the Busselton Foreshore had based its business model on a nearby performing arts centre having the ability to host large-scale business events.

City of Busselton councillors voted in favour of the BEACH development at the same council meeting.

The Times understands the developer was led to believe the BEACH development would proceed.

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