City of Nedlands votes against children’s hospice, councilor claims it can be attacked in a war

Descending into a self-parody, a Nedlands councilor has led the city’s opposition to WA’s first children’s hospice by suggesting that a hostile foreign power could bomb the facility for dying children.

The hospice will contain seven patient beds for children and teens diagnosed with a terminal illnesses.

But Cr Andrew Mangano said the proposed hospice on the Swanbourne waterfront was a few hundred yards from an army barracks.

“Because of its proximity to the army base, if that base is attacked, guess what? This site will also be damaged,” said Cr Mangano.

“From the air, how much difference does it look (from the barracks)? It’s a target.”

Cr Mangano also addressed recent comments from Local Government Secretary John Carey, who accused the council of “chasing people’s worst fears” and “pushing NIMBYism” over comments about the hospice, including by Cr Mangano, who had describeit d as a “white elephant”.

We are here to represent the taxpayers. Not the state government. We are not here to listen to John Carey’s infantile comments.

Andrew Mangano

The councilor said that the minister “likes” attacking the council.

Earlier in the meeting and during her reflections on her first year as mayor of Nedlands, Fiona Argyle also addressed the minister’s NIMBY jibe.

“NIMBY is an acronym for not in my backyard. But tonight, we’re talking about Class A reserve. This disgrace is a symptom of a lack of integrity in government; it’s not leadership,” the mayor said.

The staff of the city of Nedlands had recommended that the children’s hospice be approved subject to conditions, but the council rejected the recommendation.

Cr Managno was previously the only vote against additional funding to upgrade Swanbourne surf club and develop a reconciliation action plan. Still, this week he was joined by a clear majority.

Mayor Fiona Argyle and eight councilors voted to object to the hospice, with only Deputy Mayor Leo McManus, Cr Olinka Combes, and Cr Ben Hodsdon voting to oppose the motion.

Cr Rebecca Coghlan – ostensibly responding to previous coverage by this paper reporting her claim that the hospice would be the “coastal arm” of Perth Children’s Hospital – supported Cr Mangano’s motion, saying: “I don’t want to be criticized in the media for making a sensible, rational argument as an elected representative”.

Camera icon Descending in self-parody, a Nedlands councilor has led the city’s opposition to WA’s first children’s hospice by suggesting the facility for dying children could be bombed by a hostile foreign power. Credit: Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation


Cr Coghlan claimed that a palliative pediatrician had told her that “the children in that facility are not allowed to die”.

“There are seven grace beds for a $25 million facility. That in itself is a travesty,” she says.

Cr Coghlan said she spoke “on behalf of the children who have no voice” and wanted more beds in the hospital system.

“I don’t support him because of his footprint on an A-Class spare wheel. But I also don’t support it on behalf of the children of Western Australia and the fact that the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation will own it,” she said.

Although the Foundation has raised money for the hospice, it will, be administered by the Child and Youth Health Care.

Deputy Mayor Leo McManus said that while he had issues with the initial consultation, that was “history,” and the council needed to get behind the project.

Cr McManus said the seven-bed model had been examined by hospices worldwide, including in Sydney, where the state’s population was much larger than WA’s.

The Deputy Mayor said many Swanbourne residents favored the hospice and said the ultimate referendum was the last state election.

She said the poll yielded a “smashing victory” for WA Labour, which supports the project and whose government has cut land away from the hospice.

The SDAU will soon make a final decision on the project.

The Nedlands Council also voted to advise the SDAU to object to the Tawarri Hot Springs.

John D.Mayne
I love to write. When I wasn’t writing for my school newspaper or college blog, I was writing personal essays and journal entries. Then I discovered I loved to write. In college, I wrote for my school paper and my campus radio show. I started doing freelance writing for the Huffington Post in 2009. Then, I joined the team at Newsmyth as a writer/editor. Now, I spend most of my time writing for Newsmyth and as a guest blogger on a handful of other blogs. When I’m not writing, I like to read, travel, cook, and spend time with friends.