THE working relationship between the embattled City of Perth and the State Government is in tatters after Premier Mark McGowan severed official ties with Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and urged her to stand aside.
The escalation of bad blood between the City and State came as Mr McGowan rejected requests by Mrs Scaffidi to reconvene a high-level committee responsible for elevating Perth as a thriving metropolitan capital.
The City of Perth Committee is required to meet at least twice a year under legislation passed by the Barnett government in 2016 to expand the local government’s footprint and increase Perth’s international profile.
The committee is chaired by the Premier and includes the Local Government Minister, Lord Mayor, Deputy Lord Mayor, City chief executive and Department of Local Government boss.
Mrs Scaffidi was this afternoon standing firm, calling a press conference to reaffirm she had no intention of resigning.
The mayor said she first she knew of the premier’s letter was from a journalist, implying it was leaked to the media before she received it.
“How far does this newly-elected state government intend to interfere with local government?” she told reporters.
“What a sorry day this is for Western Australian democracy and the citizens of Perth.”
Mrs Scaffidi wrote to Mr McGowan twice last month about the committee but the Premier told her he had “no intention” of convening it under the council’s current leadership.
“The City of Perth has lost the confidence of the State Government, and in my view, will continue to lose the confidence of ratepayers and the wider WA community if the current situation is not resolved,” he wrote.
“I urge you to consider the best interests of the City of Perth and make an honourable decision.”
Mr McGowan went to the election pledging to sack the council and is understood to be awaiting a State Administrative Tribunal determination into Mrs Scaffidi’s disclosure of travel and gifts.
Witch hunt, says Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi.
This week Mrs Scaffidi and two councillors were found in minor breach of local government regulations over a motion of no confidence in Deputy Lord Mayor James Limnios moved without notice in October after he called for her to stand aside until the SAT reported.
She has previously said she believed the committee could function effectively despite her differences with Mr McGowan and Mr Limnios. She had intended it to help apply for federal capital city funding and plan the revitalisation of the west end, something the State had complained about.
Mrs Scaffidi said she would seek advice on the legality of Mr McGowan not holding committee meetings, but acknowledged he would not be in breach until the year had elapsed.