Reclaim the Night boosts campaign against domestic and family violence

Congratulations to the organisers of this year's Reclaim the Night rally. The backdrop was of course the shocking assault and murder of Jill Meagher, the recent failure of restraining orders to prevent the murders of domestic violence victims in WA and the sexist ramblings of some well known boof-heads in parliament and the media. Over 400 women and their male supporters poured through the centre of Fremantle demanding an end to violence against women.

Cappuccino Strip: remove the buses or the cars?

The October council meeting passed a resolution to ask Transperth to divert its buses away from South Tce/Market St and via Parry St/Beach St as a trial over summer. I voted against this for the following reasons:

1. It would mean the loss of the bus stop at the corner of Market St and High St for northbound passengers, and require southbound passengers who catch the bus at the markets to walk to the hospital. This is a pretty big inconvenience for passengers using these stops, especially people with reduced mobility.
2. This is a significant diversion for buses connecting passengers to the station, especially at peak hour. We should be trying to direct traffic in ways that prioritises public transport, not private motor cars.

Port Authority scare tactics over wind farm

Friends of the Earth:
Wind energy myths and facts

It was very disappointing to read comments by the CEO of the Fremantle Port Authority (FPA) in the Fremantle Gazette rejecting the proposed wind farm because of “...risks associated with possible silent health impacts due to ambient noise...”

It's completely dishonest for the Port Authority to say they don't want to impose a wind farm over the objections of residents when they're the ones whipping up fears without any scientific evidence. Previously they said it would create problems with the union over fears of health impacts on port workers, but the Maritime Union supports the wind farm.

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Speaking at Occupy: Where's the money going to come from?

Councillor Sam Wainwright speaking at #OccupyPerth's #GlobalNoise event to commemorate the one year anniversary of Occupy Perth. Sam argues for bringing the big mining and petroleum interests into public ownership as part of a plan to redistribute the wealth.

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Mr Buswell: Show respect - Fund Warrawee!

In recognition of the fact that government contracted community service providers don't get enough money to do their jobs the Barnett government announced to great fanfare in early 2011 that most service providers would get a 25% funding increase in 2011-12 and a further 10% over 2013-14.

However there are two major problems with this “good news” story. The first is that that they are using the increase in funding to contracted not-for-profit providers to mask their big cuts to government provided services, and their program of shifting services from the government to the not-for-profit sector which enables them to slash the wages and conditions of workers in the process. What they are giving with on hand they are more than taking back with the other.

Banning begging: unfair and unworkable

There was recent speculation in the media that the City of Fremantle was intending to introduce by-laws to ban begging, especially after the Mayor was canvassed on the issue by the 7:30 Report. A discussion paper proposing such a thing was drafted by officers on the propmting of some CBD business operators. Below is a letter on the proposal I wrote that was published in the Fremantle Herald:

A number of letters writers to the Herald (August 18) rightly questioned the idea that the City of Fremantle might try to ban begging on the streets to "improve" the shopping environment. It's clear that this would be very hard to enforce; and even if it could be done, would just push people from place to place without tackling the underlying causes.

Free speech not so free at NDU

In August members of the Socialist Alliance group at Notre Dame University raised with me the refusal of the university to let them register their club. They pointed out that Liberal and Labor clubs had been allowed to register but when they raised this with the administration they were told NDU was reviewing its rules for club registration and that these clubs may be disallowed as well.

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Hilton Harvest wins disability inclusion grant

Recently the Disability Services Commission confirmed that Hilton Harvest (via City of Fremantle) had been successful in its application for a $50,000 grant to make the gardens more inclusive of people with disabilities.

I'd like to record the hard work of Hilton Harvest Convenor Helen Whitkin and my partner Janet Parker for putting the grant application together. Thanks also to Hilton Harvest as a whole for agreeing to add this dimension to their already inspiring project.

Meanwhile it's looking likely that the City will enter a formal agreement to employ people with disabilities in its parks and gardens. The City was dragging its feet compared to many other big employers and had no specific policy to assist people with disabilities get work.

Diesel particulates kill! Time to get freight onto rail

The article below first appeared as a comment piece in Fremantle Herald. It was written by Barry Healy on behalf of the Road 2 Rail group.

On June 13 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organisation, confirmed that diesel engine exhaust is a Category 1 carcinogen - in the same hazard category as asbestos and cigarette smoke.

It once again poses the question of how the Fremantle Port freight task is to be achieved: by truck or by train?

What is more, with state and federal elections coming in 2013 we have the right to demand of all political parties and responsible authorities a direct answer to the question: what are you going to do to reduce the particulate burden on Fremantle?

Guts and determination save Healy Rd tuart tree - for now

Hamilton Hill resident Amanda Joy was woken by chainsaws at 7am. Horrified, she saw contractors cutting down a much loved mature tuart tree on the BP oil pipeline easment. Decisive action was called for. Amanda stood under the tree, refused to budge and hit the phone. Within the hour friends and residents had rallied to the cause. We parked our cars around the base of the tree to protect it. By midday the team from Forest Rescue had someone on a platform in the tree.

This tuart is 150 to 200 years old. Big mature trees that pre-date white settlement are both rare and vital. They should never be removed without good cause. You can read more about this issue at: www.saveourtrees.net