Refugee rights convergence to Northam

This powerful documentary tells the story of the April refugee rights convergence to the Yongah Hill Detention Centre near Northam. I gave a speech at the main rally about why we should support Tamil human rights in the context of the genocide perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government and supported by the government in Australia.

Local government reform survey

The recent survey of views on local government reform produced some mixed results. Respondents from Hilton were strongly opposed to a merger with Melville (69% against). In contrast options A, B and C (all of which would see Samson merged into Melville) gained a majority (around 55%) among Samson residents.

However the the survey only got 1227 responses of which only about 100 came from Samson. Is that big enough to make it truly representative? The Samson results were also partly clouded by the fact that on the survey map “Option C” shows Samson being merged into Melville, while the text explaining that option makes no mention of this.

The most consistent thing across all suburbs of Fremantle was the desire of residents to have a vote, on any proposed change to local government boundaries. Whether or not the Barnett government respects this wish remains to be seen. If you'd like a copy of the survey results let me know.

Barnett's back, be prepared to fight

A big thanks to everyone who supported me in the recent state election and congratulations to Peter Tinley on his re-election. There's no sugar coating the overall outcome. In terms of the environment, human services, civil liberties and workers' rights; it's a a bad result. So we'll just have to organise to protect these things, whether in our communities, on the picket lines or in the streets. Community protest stopped Barnett's plan to gut our libraries, we'll just have to do it again, and again! See more at: www.greenleft.org.au/node/53625

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Inner Freo's shrinking pool of low-cost housing

A February 11 Special Council Meeting adopted a business plan to proceed with the Kings Square redevelopment. The project will be funded in large part through the sale of council owned sites, including the Spicer site (currently the Pine Warehouse and adjacent car park).

At the meeting I moved an amendment proposing that the future use of the site be for a mix of diverse, affordable and low-cost housing; rather than a hotel. However this was defeated 8-1.

The closure of the Henderson St Warders cottages and the demolition of the Homeswest units at Burt St will see the loss of 80 low-income dwellings in the inner city in one year, only partly offset by a maximum of 27 new dwellings in the new Burt St development.

I'm sure many of my fellow councillors were shocked to see the increase in the Liberal Party vote in the state seat of Fremantle in March. But with the sky rocketing cost of housing in WA, there's not many affordable dwellings anywhere west of Carrington St. This brings with it an inevitable demographic and political shift.

If council wants to retain Fremantle's character and diversity it will need to take stronger action to create opportunities for more affordable housing. The Bannister St car park site is being lined up for sale and I'll be encouraging council to prioritise affordable and low-income housing for this site too.

Burt St to create diverse housing

The January Council meeting approved a scheme amendment and associated Deed between the City and the Department of Housing to allow for a residential development on Burt St (opposite John Curtin High School). The Department owns the land and wished to build a mix of public and private housing. The Deed requires significantly more low-income and other diverse housing than was originally proposed by the Department.

Nearly 250 pack Town Hall for Sustainable Transport Forum

Sam Wainwright speaking at forumTown Hall was packed on January 31 as transport becomes the hottest issue of the state election. Transport Minister Troy Buswell declined to attend or send anyone in his place. Perhaps not surprising since his government has given the greater Fremantle area next to nothing in its public transport and bicycle plans.

Boycott Sri Lankan cricket: no normal sport in an abnormal society

Human rights protest in Sri Lanka in front of a
billboard claiming that Sri Lanka's war-criminal
president is "internationally respected"
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Why the MUA is right to strike (even at Christmas)

Video from Green Left TV including comment from Sam Wainwright

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Maritime workers support community wind farm

Over the last few months I've been meeting with the Maritime Union of Australia executive and activists with the Fremantle Community Wind Farm project. In some really great news, the union and its members have come behind the project. See their press release below:

Maritime workers declare support for Fremantle Community Wind Farm

Over 700 give it their backing in unanimous vote-Tuesday 27 November

"The WA branch of the Maritime Union of Australia is proud to declare its support for the proposed Fremantle Community Wind Farm." said MUA Assistant Branch Secretary Will Tracey. He said that the union and it's members had given the matter careful consideration.