For the moment KT ask that you access the Shire of Northampton's website www.northampton.wa.gov.au/council and familiarize yourself with the content, the minutes of meetings, all the Councillors, the President, the Deputy President, their Mission Statement etc.
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This is the Shire of Northampton's Mission Statement.
MISSION STATEMENT.
The provision for the good rule and government, convenience, comfort and safety of persons within the Shire of Northampton.

Note of interest: The CEO receives an estimated $140,000 p/a.
The President receives $10,000 p/a + allowances.


Here are just some of the topics the KT will be reporting on this page.

  1/        Breaches of the Council Code of Conduct.
  2/        Official apologies.
  3/        The "adjustment" of Council Minutes.
  4/        Defamation (the other KT)
  5/        Kangaroo Court.
  6/        Past Vice President's resignation.
  7/        Ratepayers Association.
  8/        Leasing of Crown Land to a Councillor.
  9/        Councillor Advice Program (investigation)
10/        Bill Mitchell / WALGA.
11/        Fuel claim.
12/        Shire President.
13/        Shire CEO.
14/        Boat ramp and Pontoon Jetty.
15/        ACC.
16/        Good Democracy V Bad Democracy.

To be continued
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 1/        Breaches of the Council Code of Conduct.

The following is a copy in part of a document listing six breaches of Council's Code of Conduct that was presented to Council for their consideration.

"The failure of Councillor Allen to comply to the Council's resolution minuted 8.14.6 (Item 6.3.11) of the Ordinary Meeting of Council held at the Council Chambers, Northampton, on Friday 23rd August 2002, has caused no fewer than six (6) breaches of the Code of Conduct.

1/        Section 2.            Roll of Elected Members (2nd Paragraph)
2/        Section 2,            (5th dot point)
3/        Section 5.            Conduct of Members and Staff.
4/        Section 5.1.         Personal Behaviour.
5/        Section 5.2.         Honesty and Integrity.
6/        Section 5.6.         Corporate Obligations.

Regrettably this action of Cr. Allen has left Council and its staff open to ridicule and to be criticized for having double standards, one for ratepayers and one for Councillors". end.

Council's response to this giving due regard to procedural fairness was;


(a copy of a public document 11/07/05. Italics mine)
'11.18.1 SEA CONTAINER - KALBARRI
Moved Cr Kramer, seconded Cr Link
That because Councillor Allen failed to comply with the majority decision of Council to prevent a sea-container from being located on Lot 587 Grey Street, Kalbarri of which is officially under his management and knowingly acting against this Councils order and allowing the sea container to remain
for a period of three years, he be required to apologise to Council and its Staff and to print an official apology to Council, Staff and to the Ratepayers of Kalbarri in the Kalbarri Town Talk to Councils satisfaction.
CARRIED 5/4
For the Motion - Cr Kramer, Cr Link, Cr E Simkin, Cr O Simkin and Cr
Ash
Against the Motion - Cr Parker, Cr Wilson, Cr Gliddon and Cr Maskrey'


KT Comment/Opinion; Officially the actions of this Councillor would have attracted an accumulated fine of $113,000 if the Building Regulations 1989, 'Regulation 23. Offences' was applied.

After 3 years of defying a Council Order the unauthorised Sea Container was moved off Lot 587, Crown Land. No penalty was applied!
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2/        Official Apologies.                NONE!

KT Comment/Opinion; In the case of INTEGRITY vs Cr. RON ALLEN, Cr. Ron Allen was allowed to win on a technicality and chose not to apologise. His action was fully endorsed by the President Cr. George Parker. It appeared that the word "REQUIRE" was incorrectly used by the CEO/President when they prepared the motion for the Council to vote on. The word "ASK" should have been used, as no Council can order/require a Councillor to do anything under the Local Government Act/Regulations. This may give you a better understanding of how 'Anti-Councillors' can get away with the unethical/unprincipled things we often hear about.
After much community disgust Council has again succeeded in sweeping another controversial matter under the carpet by using the same old bureaucratic exit of;
 'no further correspondence or discussion will be entered into'.
Shire President, Cr.George Parker is on record apologising to Cr. Ron Allen for the inconvenience moving that motion may have caused him.

A note of public importance / KT opinion.
While all this was going on the Council was instigating legal action against a member of the Northampton community for having a SEA CONTAINER on his property without the approval of the Council.

The following is a copy of a public document, presented for the purpose of public education and to add to the proof that the Shire of Northampton Council has two sets of rules, one for the ratepayers and another for the members of its Boys Club which obviously includes Cr. Ron Allen. (Take note of who Moved the motion)


Extract from Minutes of Council meeting 17th March 2006.
3.9.11 ZINCALUME FINISH FOR EXISTING SHED AND SHIPPING CONTAINER - LOT 171 JOHN STREET, NORTHAMPTON (ITEM 6.2.11)
Moved Cr Allen, seconded Cr Link
That Council instigate legal action against the unlawful developments on Lot 171 John Street, Northampton and advise the owners accordingly.
CARRIED 7/3
For the Motion
Cr Parker, Cr Wilson, Cr Gliddon, Cr Link, Cr O Simkin, Cr E Simkin and Cr Allen.
Against the Motion
Cr Kramer, Cr Stock-Standen and Cr Ash.
  end.

More information on this can be found on public record - SHIRE OF NOTHAMPTON Agenda 17th March 2006. Page 41 Town Planning Report.

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3/        The "adjustment" of Council Minutes.

This is quite a serious matter, one that we report on to make other ratepayers aware. Our experience tells us that it is a method that can be used to cover up administrative incompetence.

The minutes of a Council meeting are very important, they are a statutory record of the proceedings and are to contain details of each decision made at the meeting , including resolutions, orders and other proceedings. The only way minutes can be altered is by way of a resolution and only to correct an error and not to change a decission. After the Ordinary Meeting of Council held at the Northampton Council Chambers, Hampton Road, Northampton, Friday 18th June 2004 the minutes were altered.

During discussion on Item 6.4.4   2004/2005 Budget Submissions - Kalbarri Antenatal / 0-5 Team, Cr. Kramer moved a motion seconded Cr. Ash that Council consider a Budget allocation of $500 towards the Kalbarri Antenatal Team in the 04/05 Budget to buy reading books for the 0-5 y/o Kalbarri kids.

The vote was lost 5/6.

Just as a side issue three Kalbarri Ward Councillors, Gliddon, Allen and Sutherland voted against it, something for the kids from their own ward/community.

Councillor Kramer called for all Councillor's votes to be recorded. Both the President and the CEO said that that was exceeding his right as a Councillor and the request was denied.

That was on the Friday. On the following Monday a phone call was made to the CEO asking to be informed of the section of the Local Government Act 1995 that denied a Councillor the right to have all Councillors votes recorded against their names, his answer was that he would need to seek advice and call back. His return call was that he made a mistake, a Councillor can have all votes recorded in the minutes as to how each and every Councillor voted.

That request and the subsequent denial was suddenly adjusted in the minutes to record and read the way each and every Councillor was thought to have voted on the motion. Also their vote was recorded incorrectly.

During the confirmation of the Minutes at the following meeting Cr. Kramer questioned the inaccurate recording of the June minutes, only to be told by the President George Parker that no change was required.

The KT have recorded other times where it believes the Minutes have not reported enough information or been adjusted to make Council look good in the eyes of the reader.

The KT believe any councillor worth his salt will record the full vote on a controversial decision, especially one that may have a personal impact, this helps to show the ratepayers/owners who as a councillor is acting in their best interest. We believe Kalbarri has been kept in the dark for many years because of the Council Meetings being held 106k away in Northampton, the adjustment of Minutes and the Kalbarri Councillors only informing the Kalbarri community about things that made them look good.

To be continued.
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4/     Defamation (the other KT web site)

This is the story of how one person (Andrew Young) used the 'kalbarri-truth' (now referred to as KT1) website on the world wide web, and by telling the word what was happening, shook the hell out of a town and a Shire Council, a Council that operated like it was accountable to no one.
 
Andrew Young grew up in Kalbarri without realising what was really going on politically.  After a few year of living in Perth for his kids schooling he returned to Kalbarri and bought the 'Kalbarri River Princess', one of two tourist boats working on the Murchison River. The second boat, named the River Queen was owned by Tim Woodcock, whose partner worked at the booking counter of the Kalbarri Visitors Centre (KVC). It wasn't long before Mr. Young worked out that his boat was not the preferred boat when it came to getting bookings from the KVC.
 
Looking deeper into the culture of politics in Kalbarri he realised that this was a town ruled by a small group of intimidating control freaks dubbed 'THE PURPLE CIRCLE'. It was realised that if you controlled the KVC you basically controlled the town as the tourist industry was the major financial business driver in the town, they controlled where and who the money went to. The KVC's culture was if you didn't employ them to do all your bookings, paying them your membership fee and their commission, you would suffer the consequences. The KVC would give preference in sales to the operator that was preferred by the purple circle or to those who conformed to the control freaks that had infiltrated the Shire Council and positions of importance within the Kalbarri community.

It was obvious that if you wanted to succeed in Kalbarri, one must get on side with the power mongers or again suffer the consequences. It was like a crime to have an alternate opinion to the purple circle. The resistance Mr Young encountered in his endeavours to bring some sort of equality/normality to the Kalbarri Tourist Industry and the community was unbelievable. Many of the community respected him in his endeavours but few were game enough to offer help publicly. He also slept with a baseball bat beside his bed. On record are many threats made to operators.

Mr Young's website was to bring his situation to the eye of the public but was legally threatened by the Northampton Shire Council for defamation. The legal advice the council received at Ratepayers expense was that the Council did not have a real winnable case. That legal advice is presented below under the heading Barrister's Report.

The frustrations, discrimination and hate Mr Young experienced eventually saw him sell his business and take his money elsewhere, not uncommon for many fellow investors who were more than prepared to invest in the town.


The KVC was managed by Councillor Pat Gliddon and in financial strife.  Also Cr. Ron Allen was a Council delegate to the KVC Management Committee. More to the story of the KVC is covered in section '3 Kalbarri', paragraph 6.

Defamation Barrister's Report to the Shire of Northampton (Western Australia)
The following is part of a copy of a 15 page document paid for by the ratepayers and commissioned by their Shire Council. It is presented as a report of public concern, for public education and in the spirit of social justice and good governance. (the cost to the ratepayers for this report was in the thousands of $)
Report; (part only)
"The imputations are varying in their seriousness. Some are more serious that others but there are no imputations of criminal conduct or serious dishonesty or anything of that nature.

I am of a view that if the defamation proceedings were to commence it would provide a forum for these matters to be further agitated by the author of the articles.
That agitation would occur in circumstances where further publication of material could be undertaken with relative impunity."
end.

Andrew's 'kalbarri-truth' web site ceased operations over a year ago after it did what it set out to do, recording over 13,000 hits.

The new Kalbarri Truth acknowledges the courage of Mr. Andrew Young as it is from his example that this website draws its courage and the determination to help others regain social justice in the rebirth of our town.

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5/        Kangaroo Court.

Webster Dictionary Meaning - "A court which does not follow established legal practices, or which disregards the legal rights of the defendant."        

In 2004 a letter was sent by a Mr. John Brandenburg to Garry Keeffe CEO Shire of Northampton. Brandenburg was at the time a tour operator running 'Kalbarri Coach Tours'. It is believed the letter was sent in an attempt to try and stop Cr. Kramer from using the local news media to inform the Kalbarri community of the behaviour of members of the 'Purple Circle' (the town's manipulators/bullies). It was suggested by some that Brandenburg was trying to impress this group in the hope of joining them.

The KT believe that an unedited reproduction of Brandenburg's letter is possibly the best way to inform our readers of the actions of this person and of what transpired once the CEO and the Shire President received his letter and decided on the course of action they would take. Copy reproduced (mistakes and all) but unedited as follows;

"Dear Gary,
I am witting this letter as a concerned ratepayer and would really appreciate this letter being tabled at the council meeting if at all possible.
I would like to ask you and the council whether it is either accepted or ethical for a councillor to express his/her opinion in a public document such as the Kalbarri town talk, as a councillor, to exalt his/her ego.
Mr B. Kramer starts his "report" off as Monthly Newsletter from "Councillor" Barry Kramer, and then in smaller letters has a disclaimer saying it is his personal opinion.
I think this is misleading especially to some of the older people who still accept a councillor's word as gospel. Whether he puts a disclaimer or not.
If councillor Kramer wants to voice his opinion by all means let him do so, as Mr Barry Kramer ratepayer. Not as Councillor Kramer. 
Wouldn't you think that as the way it is written, it looks as though he has the council's OK to mislead the people of Kalbarri and Northampton, with his untruths and misconceptions. He is very dumb or very hard to get thru to as the structure of the Kalbarri Tourist Bureau Inc has been explained to him so many times and yet he stills continues to try and mislead the uninformed. He apparently still does not appreciate the importance of tourism to a town like Kalbarri.
For the good of the community could you or the council put a stop to this.
Thank you so far for taking the time to read this letter, hoping to hear from you soon with some constructive results or suggestions.

Yours sincerely
John Brandenburg
Concerned ratepayer.
"  End.

In the CEO's and President George Parker's eagerness to discredit Cr. Kramer and stifle his efforts to keep the community well informed they presided over a process that deprived Cr. Kramer of any PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS by calling a 'Councillor Only Meeting' and without notice subjected him to a 'Kangaroo Court' claiming a breach of the Code of Conduct. This took place immediately after the March Ordinary Meeting of Council before the meeting was closed. The President George Parker claimed he was acting on advice from the Department WA Local Government and Regional Development.

It is worth mentioning that advice from the same WA Local Government Dept. states;  The requirements of procedural fairness have to be followed. That is, the Councillor must be made aware of the offence and given the opportunity to reply. Having taken into account that reply the Council would make its finding. Council decision would be a public decision. Minutes of that particular Kangaroo Court were taken but never put on record.

This unprofessional, unethical, discriminatory action by George Parker encouraged Cr. Kramer to seek professional advice concerning the event. The report on this is quite extensive and condemns the President George Parker for his unprincipled behaviour. The report lists 18 matters of concern, here are just a few: (numbered as in report)
1    There is no provision in the Local Government Act for a 'Councillor Meeting'.
2    No minutes or notes were made available.
5    Done contrary to the role of President in providing leadership.
6   The President presided over a personal attack on a fellow Councillor at an unofficial meeting.
7   The President took this action from a single letter of complaint.
13  What evidence was available to support the Brandedburg allegation? and if not found guilty why has the President not apologised?
16  Basically, it seems that the council's attitude is to gag any contrary opinion and this raises the question of why and what do they have to hide?

We advise our readers that Brandenburg was also the elected Chairman of the Kalbarri Visitors Centre (KVC) but referred to himself as the 'President'. At the KVC's 04 AGM he was voted out of the Chairmanship and off their Committee because of what some saw as unethical behaviour. He is now the towns Real Estate Agent.
Councillor Barry Kramer continued witting his monthly report in the same manner up until the time he retired from Local Government.
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6/        Past Vice President's Resignation.

The following is a reprint of a letter sent to the Council explaining the feelings of the then Deputy President upon his resignation and after he was, what the KT call "Stabbed in the Back" by some of his so-called friends. It is presented as a public document of public interest/education.
A copy of the original letter is on public record and can be made available upon request.

13th June 2005

I write this letter tendering my resignation as a Councillor of the Shire of Northampton with very mixed feelings.
I feel that I have carried out my duties with integrity and loyalty for the last six years and have enjoyed my time on Council. To say that I was disappointed with my defeat as Deputy President at the recent meeting to elect Office Bearers is probably an understatement, not because I was defeated, but by the underhanded manner in which this was achieved, manipulated by accusations of me being a supporter of Councillor Kramer in his disagreements with the Shire, of plotting to be involved with a coup on the President in collusion with Kalbarri Councillors and also false rumours about my ability to carry out my duty as Vice President because of the condition of my health. All of these statements are utterly unfounded and untrue.
During a recent conversation with the Shire President I stated that I would stay on Council until after the Budget meeting, to which he replied "Why bother, there are ten more of us to handle that". Thank you for your show of support George! It is good to see my loyalty to you over the last six years so well appreciated.
Taking that sort of thinking into consideration, I don't see any purpose will be served by me attending any further Council meetings and I tender my resignation forthwith.
I would like to apologise to any staff members who overheard the angry exchange between myself and other Councillors after the meeting on the 30th May. But after hearing the rubbish I was accused of, I feel the entire fault was not mine, although I do accept more restraint would have been appropriate.
In closing I would like to thank the Councillors who supported me at the election and also the couple that had credible reasons for voting against me. As for the rest I believe a bit more honesty, loyalty and common sense would be in order in the future.

Yours faithfully,

Charles Hulme.   
end.


KT Comment/Opinion;
This was a sad loss of a person who was greatly respected as a Shire Councillor and community volunteer, but it is just another example of the arrogant way Councillor George Parker operates in his position as Shire President.
There is much more to this story that could be told. One event that the KT feels should be reported came after Council moved Mr Hulme aside. Councillor Ron Allen then confronted the new Manager of the Kalbarri Visitors Centre (Y. B.) telling her that, a Deputy President was moved aside because it was perceived he was a supporter of Cr. Kramer and that's what can happen even with a perception if you know what I mean.  Y.B. was a friend of Cr. Kramer, he was supporting her through the hate she was experiencing living and working in Kalbarri as the Tourist Information Centre Manager. (That happens to be another story that has been well documented.)

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7/        Ratepayers Association. KRRA.

The story of KRRA is long and involved. For the purpose of this report we will keep it short, referring only to a few  things that concern Council and are considered important for the purpose of informing and educating our readers. More on KRRA is reported in chapter '3 Kalbarri'.

The Kalbarri Resident and Ratepayers Association Inc. (KRRA) started out as the 'Kalbarri Action Group'. This group was formed by concerned members of the Kalbarri community because of what they saw as Council incompetence. This incompetence was the mismanagement of one of the community's assets and is explained under the heading, "Leasing of Crown Land to a Councillor" in this chapter of our website.

KRRA was formed in 2003, becoming a registered incorporated body, with a constitution and rules, a copy of which was held at the Kalbarri Council Office. After witnessing some of our Shire Council's decisions one of their main functions became the close monitoring of the Council minutes and the agenda. On many occasions KRRA found the need to question Council about their decision making process. This was done by some of their members attending 'Question Time' at the beginning of the monthly Council meeting.
Councillor Kramer, who was a member of the KRRA recalls the time he was confronted by Cr. Gordon Wilson who arrogantly asked the question, "what do think you are doing bringing these people to our Council Meeting". Being a Councillor and having your authority questioned wasn't part of the culture of this "Boys Club"!

Cr Kramer also recalls the time members of the "Boy Club" (Council) held him responsible for the CEO, Garry Keeffe taking stress leave. The reason given was that there were too many questions being asked by the new Councillor (Kramer). Strangely enough this stress leave was taken in conjunction with the CEO's annual leave?

During their time KRRA bought many things to the attention of those who cared about the wellbeing and future of their town. Sadly there were many who were not prepared to accept the evidence and even today some remain in the coma that being uninvolved and uncaring induces.

KRRA also repaired and maintained the Town's notice board, using it to further inform the community of things thought to be of interest/importance. This continued up until the time Gary Fletcher decided he would take on the roll of village idiot, defacing and removing some of the notices.

KRRA then sought the permission of Council for the placement of their own public notice board. That request was presented to Council as Item 6.5.8 20th Jan 2006. The motion was lost 3/6.
For the Motion Crs. Link, Kramer, O. Simkin
Against the Motion Crs. G. Parker, Wilson, E. Simkin, Ash, Stock-Standen, Maskrey, Gliddon and Allen.

There were those on Council who considered that being referred to on a community notice board was unjust and as a Councillor, a person of great importance, being held publicly accountable for your behaviour was unfair.

We have previously spoken about a web site (KT1) that Council tried to shut down using Ratepayers money and  threats of defamation. This next item shows how this Council, without any proof what so ever linked KRRA with that web site.
 
Copy of Council Minutes, reproduced for public information/education.
 

NEW ITEMS OF BUSINESS. 15.09.06 (page 19)
9.16.1 KALBARRI RESIDENTS AND RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION - KALBARRI-TRUTH WEB SITE.

Cr Wilson expressed concern over information which is being provided by Management to the Kalbarri Residents and Ratepayers Association (KRAA) which in turn is being misconstrued by either the KRRA or other persons on the World Wide Web. The content being misconstrued is detrimental to Council as a whole and should not be tolerated.

Moved Cr Wilson, seconded Cr Maskrey
That Council instruct Management not to reply to correspondence from the Kalbarri Residents and Ratepayers Association as it is deemed that current time resources of Management do not allow for it.

CARRIED 7/3

For the Motion - Cr Wilson, Cr Parker, Cr O Simkin, Cr E Simkin, Cr Allen, Cr Gliddon and Cr Maskrey.
Against the Motion - Cr Kramer, Cr Ash and Cr Link.


It is important to note that not one shred of proof was presented to Council to confirm Wilson's statement. Also  note that regardless of the lack of any evidence, like sheep the blind obedient followed the command and voted with the herd. An answer to a letter sent to the Premier concerning this action of Council confirmed it was an act of poor Governance.


To be continued.
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8/         Leasing of Crown Land to a Councillor

Lot 588   (First of three Lots)

Please Note; The following is a copy of a public document reproduced for the purpose of public education.


Extract Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of Council held at the Northampton Council
Chambers, Hampton Road, Northampton, on Friday 20 June 2003


6.18.8 LOT 588 GREY STREET - KALBARRI (ITEM 6.5.8)
Cr Allen declared a financial interest in this item as he is the lessee of Lot 588 Grey Street, Kalbarri and may incur a financial gain or loss from Council's decision and left the meeting at 4:00pm.

Moved Cr Maskrey, seconded Cr Sutherland
That Council proceed
in camera.
CARRIED 11/0
Moved Cr Wilson, seconded Cr O Simkin
That Council no longer proceed
in camera.
CARRIED 11/0

Moved Cr Hulme, seconded Cr Wilson
That Council charge $5,000 per annum, to be increased by the CPI in subsequent years of the lease, for Lot 588 Grey Street, Kalbarri.

Cr Kramer moved an amendment to the motion to charge $18,000 per annum for Lot 588 Grey Street Kalbarri, however the amendment lapsed as there was no seconder for the motion.

Council voted on the original motion being:
That Council charge $5,000 per annum, to be increased by the CPI in subsequent years of the lease, for Lot 588 Grey Street, Kalbarri.

CARRIED BY AN ABSOLUTE MAJORITY 8/2
Cr Kramer requested that his name be recorded as voting against the motion.
Cr Allen returned to the meeting at 4:40pm.

The Chief Executive Officer advised that Council is to consider the issue of recharging the lessee for the valuations undertaken for the lease of Lot 588 Grey Street Kalbarri.

Cr Allen declared a financial interest in this item as he is the lessee of Lot 588 Grey Street, Kalbarri and may incur a financial gain or loss from Council's decision and left the meeting at 4:41pm.

The Chief Executive Officer explained that only one valuation was required when renewing the lease however as the valuation was significantly higher than the current amount being charged for Lot 588 Grey Street that a second valuation was then obtained. The lease does provide that the lessee is to be responsible for all costs associated with renewing the lease, however as an additional valuation was requested Council are asked to determine if the cost of both valuations are to be recharged to the lessee or only the first valuation.

Moved Cr Hulme, seconded Cr Wilson
That Council recharge the lessee of Lot 588 Grey Street Kalbarri for the valuation costs associated with obtaining the first valuation and Council authorise the expenditure of the second valuation obtained for $1,250.

CARRIED BY AN ABSOLUTE MAJORITY 9/1

Cr Kramer requested that his name be recorded as voting against the motion.
Cr Allen returned to the meeting at 4:45pm

end of copy.

For those new comers to the WA Local Government Boys Club the term 'in camera' means,  NOT FOR RATEPAYERS EARS. This gives a council the right to clear the public gallery and declare the debate private and confidential, so even though the community is the owner of the Local Government they still have ways to keep you in the dark and protect their authority. This also allows them to massage their ego in their desire to rule not serve their community.

The story of Lot 588 Grey Street Kalbarri is recorded in one of KT's largest research files. We will attempt to tell the whole story in a much condensed version. If any of our readers wish more information just email us with your request.

Lot 588 is a 1,426 square meter, prime river frontage parcel of Crown Land (on Crown Reserve 37445) This land like other blocks of crown land in Kalbarri (that we intend to inform our readers about) is vested to the Shire of Northampton via a State Government Administration Management Order. That Management Order gives the Northampton Shire Council use of the land to, if they wish develop it or lease it in such a way that it will bring benefit to the Community. It is expected that if a Council leases crown land the funds from that lease are to be used to further improve the surrounding publicly owned area. (eg roads, car parks, footpaths etc)

Lot 588 which is part of the Murchison Caravan Park was first brought to the attention of our community when the lease came up for the renewal in 2003. This prime piece of real estate was leased to the owner of the Murchison Caravan Park, ex President of our Shire and now Councillor, Ron Allen for $1,195 per annum. ($0.84 cents /sq.m.)

A Local Government is only obliged to get one valuation from a registered valuer when leasing Crown Land. The CEO, Garry Keeffe employed Geraldton Property Valuations to report on the annual unimproved rental valuation for Lot 588. That report is dated 12th April 2003 and recommend that the ground rental of the subject land be $18,000 per annum. ($12.62 /sq.m) This valuation cost the ratepayers $825.

Before that could be put to Council for their determination the CEO, Garry Keeffe went above and beyond the need and at Ratepayers expense got another registered valuer (Mid West Valuations) to also officially report on the rental value. On the 6th May 2003 this Company reported that the rental value applicable to the subject property be $4.500 per annum. ($3.16 /sq.m.) The cost to the ratepayers for this valuation was $1,250.

The minutes of the Council Meeting when this was debated are recorded above. Your attention is directed to the in camera time (40 minute) that it took to try and convince Council to show some common sense and accept the first valuation of $18,000. But as it is reported in the minutes they chose to act contrary to the public interest and instead voted for an ex President and fellow councillor to benefit.

Council received over 120 public submissions voicing concern over the decision to lease Lot 588 to a Councillor  for such a low rate. One submission even offered to pay $30,000 p/a  to lease this block. The President George Parker commented that Council had no obligation to pay attention to any of those 120 + submissions. (KT has all the original submissions on file)

This decision made by these 8 councillors ($5,000 p/a) effectively deprived the ratepayers of $13,000 per year. The lease was for 21 years, the rent was to be reviewed in 5 years, that equates to $65,000 before the lease allowed another rent review. Our community was given another demonstration of this Council's arrogance and an example of 'Bad Democracy'.

Throughout this website we have ask you to be the judge, this is one of those occasions. Some questions that need answering to help you make an informed judgment are;

        Why did the CEO take it upon himself to get a second valuation when the Act only requires one?
        Why were these two valuations so far apart?
        Why was a new recruit and one other Councillor, the only ones prepared to act in the community's best         interest?
        Why did the other 8 Councillors choose to vote Contrary to the Public Interest?
        Why did these 8 Councillors vote for the cheapest rate for a fellow Councillor?
        Why did Council vote to past the cost of the cheapest valuation (even though it was discarded) on to Cr. Ron         Allen when the lease states that all costs are the responsibility of the lessee?
        Why did Council vote to pass the cost of the dearest valuation (the one used) on to the ratepayers?
        Jan. 03 Council moved a motion to pass all costs onto the lessee. It was never rescinded?

Geraldton Property Valuations was the one to report to have no pecuniary interest in the property or with any
parties associated to the lease.

It is a fact of life in Local Government that Shire Councillors can indulge in vote trading and vote canvassing between each other over the phone before a Council Meeting.


KT Opinion/Comment;
The Valuer General's Department was bought in recently to set the latest lease valuation on Lot 588. It is a very different story, now set at $12.48 /sq.m. The community has finally had a much needed win concerning Lot 588.
More to the persistence of this Councillor (Ron Allen) to look after himself can be read under the heading 'Please Explain' on link 5 Councillor, (Councillors Gliddon and Parker being part of his team.)

For our readers information Council leases another portion of Crown Land to a Company whose infrastructure is vital to our fishing industry. Council charges these people $15 sq.m.

The fact remains, for years Council has allowed the lessee of this site (Cr. Ron Allen) to operate 11 caravan/camping bays contrary to what the land tenure allowed. Just another example of Council mismanaging one of the communities assets, setting a bad example and an undesirable precedent.

Please feel free to email the KT with your comments / sense of right and wrong concerning the above. (kharma@
westnet.com.au)

To be continued.              http://www.apsac.com.au/2011conference/2009/2009papers.html
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