Cuts & privatisation
Can we stop Barnett’s axe?
"Politics in the Club" is a new initiative in the Fremantle area. Every month we'll be inviting a range of interesting and inspiring speakers to discuss the topics of the day. Politics in the Club will be a genuine community forum encouraging questions and discussion from the audience. Come along and have your say.
The first Politics in the Club will focus on the cuts and privatisation agenda of the Barnett government:
1200 public service redundancies - 500 health jobs cut - 500 disability jobs outsourced - 500 education jobs cut- hospitals outsourced…are Freo hospital emergency and the port next?
Al Rainnie (Curtin Graduate School of Business)
[This is republished from Socialist Alliance WA site.]
True, the try-hard treasurer was probably too busy keeping track of which election promise he was planning to break next to get Sam's name right. (He confused Wainwright with prominent actor Sam Worthington - admittedly an easy mistake to make.)
He also described Wainwright as being a member of the "socialist loony party" which isn't a strictly accurate rendition of the party's name.
There is widespread support both in the community and on council for a long overdue upgrade of High St; both to address the safety of the intersection with Stirling Highway, and to provide residents on High St with a separated local access road.
However Main Roads, and through it the state government, are effectively holding our community to ransom by insisting that any "upgrade" be based on a six lane road reserve flanked by walls.
This would cut a swathe through the area and wipe out 100 trees (including some mature Tuarts). It would also see five pedestrian crossing points reduced to only one overpass, effectively cutting the Gibson Park precinct off from White Gum Valley and East Fremantle like a Berlin Wall. It would be a massive disincentive to walking and cycling.
Widening the road from four lanes to six lanes will also increase its capacity by 50%, bringing a similar increase in both noise and diesel particulate pollution.
Main Roads insist they need to increase the road capacity to meet future traffic increases. But such increases are only "inevitable" because of systematic failure by the state government to properly invest in public transport and freight on rail.
In addition to the well publicised "deferring" of their public transport commitments, they are also sabotaging more sustainable freight transport. Take these three examples:
See below an article by Freo Road 2 Rail and Save Beeliar Wetlands activist Pam Nairn, originally published as a Thinking Allowed column in the Fremantle Herald:
There are many reasons for Fremantle to resist amalgamation with Melville. Nothing however has the power to change the face of Fremantle more than Melville's approach to roads and road building.
The people who live on Leach Highway in Melville, on High St and alongside Stirling Highway in East Fremantle put up with heavy traffic, particularly trucks, polluting their air, disturbing their sleep or terrifying them when they drive out of their driveways. The City of Melville has been lobbying the government to build Roe 8 in the mistaken belief that it will relieve Leach Highway of its problems.
Have they looked at the figures released by SMC, the Main Roads consortium, showing traffic numbers if Roe 8 were to be built? By 2021 the traffic on Leach Highway over most of its length from Kwinana Freeway to Stock Road would not have reduced at all.
This is because of the large increase in cars and trucks we will have on the road. Lots of traffic would be travelling on Roe 8, but there would be an equal share of misery for all on both Roe 8 and Leach Highway.
In October along with Councillors Waltham and Strachan I represented the City of Fremantle at the annual Bike Futures conference in Melbourne.
Check out this diagram compiled by Chris Loader (who runs www.ChartingTransport.com). It's based on Australian Census data and documents a spectacular growth in bike journeys to work across Fremantle between 2006 and 2011. This is all the more impressive as the efforts to make Fremantle truly bike friendly were only just beginning in 2011:
As you'd expect the growth is especially concentrated in suburbs like South Fremantle and Beaconsfield. However as more bike infrastructure starts to get rolled out to Hilton this financial year, we should see a growth there too. Meanwhile the City has again put in a grant submission for a pedestrian/bike overpass to connect Hilton and Samson at a mid-point between South St and Winterfold Rd. I'll keep you posted.
Melbourne bike infrastructure 2013
Socialist Alliance WA co-convenor Sam Wainwright was re-elected to the Fremantle council on October 19. In the other wards progressive councillors defeated more conservative opponents, and Mayor Brad Pettitt was also returned.
Wainwright won 58 per cent of the vote in his ward compared to 33 per cent at the 2009 poll. Local government elections are "first past the post'' in WA, so 33 per cent was enough to win the election in 2009. Wainwright's absolute vote also increased from 438 votes to 602 this year.
Over the last four years Wainwright has made a priority of organising and promoting community campaigns and supporting council initiatives such as a dramatic increase in the cycling budget. He has been a strong supporter of the Fremantle Road to Rail campaign and helped promote a community owned wind farm at North Quay.
He introduced the Workplace Values policy which recognises the right of council employees to union representation and job security; and set an indigenous employment target.
It's a real honour to have the support of so many residents and to be re-elected as a Councillor for Hilton Ward. There is a lot more work to be done and some big challenges in front of us, an active and engaged community will be the key to making positive change.
DOWNLOAD: My re-election leaflet
I have renominated for Hilton Ward for the council elections. I believe I've been hard working and effective, both collaborative and prepared to speak out.
I've supported the regeneration of the Fremantle CBD as well as taken a keen interest in the issues affecting our suburbs. I'm committed to social justice sustainability and community.
This leaflet explains some of my activities, the things I've helped achieve and the projects I will work on in the next term. I'm an activist councillor with more energy to give, and there's plenty more to be done. I hope you'll consider supporting me again.
Slow South St, create a Hilton Town Centre
With the support of council I convinced Main Roads to reduce the the speed limit between Hines and Stock Roads to 60 km/h. Will seek a reduction to 50 km/h through the Hilton Town Centre.
Supported successful community campaign for a pedestrian crossing of South St at Collick St.
The current situation
1. The State Governments plans to amalgamate councils in July 2015.
2. It proposes to merge Fremantle, East Fremantle, Melville and parts of Canning.
3. Fremantle is making a submission to the Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB) that the merger does not make sense and argues instead for the creation of a Greater Fremantle council.
What about Samson?
The City of Fremantle submission proposes to transfer Samson and the eastern part of O'Connor to Melville in return for Bicton and Palmyra, creating a Greater Fremantle with Stock Rd as its eastern boundary.
The rationale is that Stock Rd makes for a clear and legible boundary that will give the submission a greater chance of success. While I understand that argument, I don't think it is a good enough reason for Fremantle to cast off Samson.
At a special meeting of Council on September 16 I moved an amendment to the submission that Samson be included, but this was lost 4 votes to 7.
But what do Samson residents want?
In a survey conducted earlier this year 42% of Samson residents voted in favour of a merger Melville, while 42% voted for options which would see Samson stay with Fremantle.
A further 17% voted for Option C which corresponds to the current proposal. However the explanation in the survey failed to mention that Samson was not included. As a result I think it's fair to conclude that a narrow majority of those surveyed favoured staying with Fremantle, something I wholeheartedly support.
In an extensive survey of City of Fremantle residents 70% indicated their opposition to a crude merger with Melville and 75% wanted to be able to vote on any new council boundary. The Barnett government's local government amalgamations plan disregards these wishes and is a direct contradiction of its pre-election promise.
Over 200 people crammed into Kulcha on 8 August to kick-start the campaign against the Barnett government's proposed merger of Fremantle, East Fremantle, Melville and parts of Canning. Around 1000 attended the Fremantle Forever Rally and Concert on September 1.
They key principles suggested as a guide for the campaign are on the Fremantle Society Web site: http://fremantlesociety.org.au/blog/2013/08/06/freos-mayor-call-for-arms... Please sign the petition against the merger here: http://chn.ge/192sqgC
The Barnett government is also proposing to scrap the "Dadour Amendments". These are provisions of the Local Government Act which allow the residents of a council to reject a merger in a poll if they don't want it. This is a basic democratic right, one that Barnett said before the election he would respect. You can sign the petiton to protect your right to have the final say on any mergers here: http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/my-local-government-my-decision