Andrew Hastie takes aim at City of Mandurah after ‘political’ advert

Unhappy: Canning MP Andrew Hastie has accused the City of Mandurah of “cheerleading for Labor” or “incompetence” after a newspaper advertisement that the local government has since apologised for.
Unhappy: Canning MP Andrew Hastie has accused the City of Mandurah of “cheerleading for Labor” or “incompetence” after a newspaper advertisement that the local government has since apologised for.

Canning MP Andrew Hastie has accused the City of Mandurah of “cheerleading for Labor” or “incompetence” after a newspaper advertisement the local government has since apologised for.

The City commissioned a full-page advert in last week’s Mandurah Mail highlighting their Mandurah Matters vision, which includes a foreshore redevelopment.

However, Mr Hastie took exception to the wording of the advert, which he claimed looked like Labor campaign material.

“The McGowan Labor Government has committed $10 million to the Mandurah Foreshore Redevelopment project as part of its Plan for Peel, to deliver an iconic Mandurah foreshore precinct supporting local tourism and local jobs,” the advert read.

Mr Hastie said he felt aggrieved at the advert’s wording.

“The City of Mandurah are either cheerleading for Labor or it’s a mistake,” he said. 

“If it’s a mistake, then it’s blatant incompetence by the City of Mandurah. Parts of their ad are an almost exact copy of Labor campaign material. I personally don’t buy that it was a simple error.

“Many locals have contacted me, upset that the City would do this. They don’t want their rates being used for political gain and consider it a misuse of council funds. 

“People are right to expect their money is being spent impartially, for the good of the community.”

City of Mandurah acting chief executive Graeme Davies said he would like to apologise for causing any offence.

“On this occasion the City’s procedures were not followed and the advertisement was released without proper approval,” he said.

“Our long standing political protocol when dealing with such matters, is to refer to the “State Government” regardless of who is actually in government.

“This was an unfortunate mistake, we have reviewed this process to ensure is doesn’t happen again.”

Local Government Minister and Mandurah MP David Templeman said the error should not take away from the positive work the City was undertaking with Mandurah Matters.

"The City of Mandurah have not broken any laws in relation to the advert, but have accepted they made a mistake," he said.

"Despite this, I think it is a storm in a teacup.

"The City's Mandurah Matters campaign is giving residents the chance to express their opinions on Mandurah's future and is a blueprint for other local governments to follow."

A WA Electoral Commission spokesperson said no complaints had been received in relation to the advert.