Children’s hospice debate: John Carey criticises Nedlands council over centre for dying kids in Swanbourne

Briana Fiore and Ben O’SheaThe West Australian
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Housing Minister John Carey “doesn’t have much time” for Nedlands.
Camera IconHousing Minister John Carey “doesn’t have much time” for Nedlands. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

A McGowan Government minister has blasted one of Perth’s richest councils after its representatives complained about a children’s hospice that would care for dying kids.

Housing and Local Government Minister John Carey said on Monday “I don’t have much time for Nedlands” after he claimed the council had engaged in a “frivolous” debate about the development of an end-of-life health facility for kids in Swanbourne.

“I’m just deeply saddened by it, because it does appear they are looking for frivolous reasons to oppose it ... this is not the first time from Nedlands,” he told The West live host Ben O’Shea.

“What you need from councils is great leadership ... if there are issues and concerns, engage with your local community, take people on a journey, but don’t prey on people’s worst fears.”

But the City of Nedlands wasn’t the only local government in Mr Carey’s firing line.

He also hit out at the City of Perth for rejecting an application to relocate a homeless drop-in centre in Northbridge.

The proposal would have seen the centre move just a couple of hundred metres, but councillors backed business owners and residents who wrote heated “not in my backyard” submissions opposing the move.

“I just would urge them (the City of Perth) to take a proactive approach and in the case of Ruah they could have got everyone around the table and discussed it,” Mr Carey said.

The Housing Minister said homeless services and social housing were needed in the city, deeming it “critical”.

“This idea that homelessness services attract homelessness is nonsense. Look around the world, whether or not there is homelessness services you get homeless people in the city because of the level of activity ... people just go to the city because they feel safer there,” he said.

Asked about how he would solve Perth’s rental and housing debacle, Mr Carey flagged the “build to rent” model as one solution before regurgitating old lines about the McGowan Government’s housing response.

The initiative would offer a 50 per cent land tax concession for developers to build affordable rental accommodation for workers.

The Local Government Minister also touched on the cost of living, conceding rate rises could be “very difficult” for families.

Mr Carey said councillors should not take a “hands-off” approach and urged them to go through each line item in the budget to improve their finances.

“Be prudent, I understand councils are under pressure, but understand where their ratepayers are coming from,” he said.

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