THE State Government will now take a lead role in dealing with the Heirisson Island protesters, says City of Perth chief executive Frank Edwards.
Mr Edwards said although the City had dealt with protests before, this was the longest.
“The City has no objection to protest actions so long as local laws are not breached and other people are not unduly inconvenienced.
“In this case, protesters blatantly defied local laws, openly abused people and resisted requests to stop camping. They refused to accept the legal authority of local government.”
Mr Edwards said dealing with the protest had required the involvement of about 12 staff as well as the chief executive and relevant director and manager spending considerable time trying to find a resolution to the issue.
“Some staff have also been subjected to abusive and aggressive behaviour from protesters,” he said.
“However, the City has had the resources to deal with the situation to the extent of its legal limits.”
He added that while the City had structures to deal with most situations, its powers to move people on or to force them to leave an area were limited by State legislation.
“Rangers will continue to visit the site and to enforce by-laws, with support from the police. The Government has indicated it must take a lead role now,” he said.
“The protesters’ main grievance appeared to relate to native title. This does not come within the ambit of local government.”
On Friday afternoon police supported the City to remove the people illegally camping on the site. Police units included the regional operations group, the mounted section, dog squad and local police.
Central Metropolitan District Superintendent Scott Higgins said the City had needed police assistance to deal with the issue of illegal camping.
“These protesters are welcome, like any, to legally publicise their cause,” he said.
“But in this case the City of Perth was dealing will illegal camping, vehicles driving through a public park for weeks, and a number of anti-social behaviour incidents recently which have been of concern to police.”