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
Kulunga Kindergarten in Hilton is threatened with closure. The Education Department, tasked with finding cuts to satisfy the Barnett government claims that there were insufficient enrolments by the end of July to justify a 2014 class. However many parents were unaware of the new earlier deadline and the kindergarten which has been running for five decades. See below a message from Hilton Primary School P&C:
For those of you who don't know The Kulunga Kindergarten in Hilton provides a vital preschool program for 3 and 4 year old children from Aboriginal families in the surrounding area - and a transport service to ensure children's regular attendance. For over 25 years the trust and confidence the kindy and its committed staff have established among the community has meant numerous children (many from disadvantaged and often disengaged families) have enjoyed the benefits of a dedicated, culturally respectful pre-school learning environment.
The kindy has also provided children with the necessary and appropriate resources and skills to enable them (and their families) to make a successful transition to the primary school environment. How can benefits the Kulunga Kindy provides - to the community, to the children and to the schools that receive these children once they start primary school - be so easily discounted? The State government claims it is redirecting funds to where they are most needed, but how is this is not a necessary service?
A big thanks to all Socialist Alliance members and supporters for your efforts over the course of the election campaign.
In Fremantle there was a 2.7% swing to the ALP (41.6%) and a 6% swing away from the Greens (11.6%). I suspect this reflected people returning to the Labor fold because of the fear of an Abbott victory.
In a preferential system this doesn't make sense but is based more on mood than logic. In that context we're happy our vote has increased slightly, hovering around the 1% mark, even if we were hoping for a bigger increase.
There is absolutely no possibility of substantially redistributing wealth or stopping runaway global warming without breaking the back of the big business and fossil fuel mafia that dominate Australian politics.
This means extending democratic public ownership to strategic sectors of the economy. We're the only party to raise the call for public ownership and our campaign was an important opportunity to do this.
Bright spots in an overall bleak national result were the return of the Greens Adam Bandt and Scott Ludlam. Bandt's return with an increased primary vote and not dependant on Liberal preferences is especially significant.
We're starting to make substantial progress towards transforming Fremantle into a bike friendly place. In 2009-10 the City only spent a pitiful $39,000 on bike infrastructure. But since then the annual spend has been increased to over $400,000 per year.
Necessarily most of the works in these first few years has concentrated on fixing problems around the CBD. With this done we can start shifting some of the expenditure east. The 2013-17 Bicycle Plan adopted at the July meeting of council includes around $90,000 to create a dedicated bike crossing of Carrington St at the Lefroy Rd-Rennie Cres intersection.
Currently there are no safe crossing points across Carrington St between Marmion St and Winterfold Rd. A crossing at this point would effectively connect Hilton Primary School, the Hilton Community Centre, the Dick Lawrence reserve, the Beaconsfield shops and the South Fremantle SHS on one axis.
After journeys into the CBD, it's short trips like this where there is the greatest potential to shift people from car to walking and cycling. A big thanks to the Freo Bicycle Users Group and the Mayor for their support.
If you use the Leisure Centre you'll know that it's closed for six months for a major $3.3 million upgrade including re-tiling and a geothermal heating system. Also both the 25 and 50 metre pools are going to have full access ramps installed. This will make them a whole lot more accessible, and not just for people in wheelchairs, but for everyone dealing with the reduced mobility that comes with age. I know people who, while not regarding themselves as having a disability, simply can not use the ladders.
I'm passionate about about making Fremantle more inclusive of people with disabilities and improving the Leisure Centre was a priority of mine when I first ran for council. At a Disability Services Commission event I became aware of a Department of Sport & Recreation grant that the City could apply for to co-fund the project which it did. A big thanks to fellow councillors for supporting this project.
The bi-partisan contest in refugee bashing has hit new lows. This is a real kick in the guts coming so soon after the great Refugee Welcome Walk & Fiesta in Fremantle.
See here my speech at the July 22 refugee rights rally in Perth:
If you want to put an end to this destructive scapegoating then get along to the National Day of Action 1pm Saturday 24 August Murray St Mall Perth, organised by the great activists in the Refugee Rights Action Network.