A candidate running for mayor in the City of Melville has promised to reform the council if he became mayor in the October local government elections.
George Gear has claimed he wanted to “reshape the way in which the Melville city council operates” to make decisions “so that ratepayers come first”.
Mr Gear, who had previously spent 13 years in federal parliament, said reform was needed to operate in favour of ratepayers.
Speaking to WAMN News, he said the ratepayers needed to come first.
“The biggest challenge should I get elected is to get the governance back into a situation where its working for ratepayers,” Mr Gear said.
He claimed the council had problems that needed to be resolved including “delegator’s authority which really means authority given from councillors to senior public servants.”
“The other one is the fact that seven or eight of them, I think its seven, seven councillors always vote the same way all the time.”
“We should have 13 range of views, 13 different views but we’re only getting, instead of seven, we’re getting one.”
He said he wanted people living in the area to be listened to.
“One of the things I’m going to do which doesn’t happen now is actively set up a program so we listen to what ratepayers’ concerns are,” Mr Gear said.
Mr Gear stated he had the experience after having been “in a government of reform” as part of the Paul Keating government.
He said his time as the chief government whip in the House of Representatives for three years, a federal government minister with responsibilities for the tax office and the Productivity Commission, while also setting up the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
He had been criticised by current mayor Russell Aubrey who claimed that Mr Gear “clearly has no idea of what local government is all about”.
Mr Aubrey claimed that Mr Gear “has another thing coming” if “he thinks he can come in and independently sack staff without incurring considerable compensation for those staff.”
However, Mr Gear had denied the claims from the mayor, stating he was not concerned.
“I’m not worried about Mr Aubrey is saying because really its irrelevant,” he said.
He rejected claims that he would sack staff if became mayor.
“I made a statement that I was going to replace some staff and that’s likely to happen by the way. But I’m not going to sack them,” Mr Gear said.
He believed his experience stood up against Mr Aubrey’s.
Mr Gear said his campaign had currently been going very well, stating that he had been doorknocking at 3,000 households and “listening to what their concerns are.”
He said he had talked to young people and encouraged them vote, telling them about the importance of voting in local governments, stating that they had new ideas.
“They’re good listeners and they come up with I think are refreshing ideas and they say they’re going to vote,” Mr Gear said.
“I just hope they do.”
He called on people in the City of Melville to vote to get the result they wanted.
“The more people that vote, the more relevant the vote is,” Mr Gear said.
“You’d hate to think that you might end up with councillors or even a mayor on a fact that people didn’t vote.”