Parents win fight to save "Buster the Fun Bus"

By Justine Kamprad (from

Local parents have successfully spearheaded a Fremantle community campaign to save a service called “Buster the Fun Bus”.

Buster is a van staffed by two community workers from the City of Fremantle. It makes stops at various parks in the Fremantle and Melville area, setting out activity tables and toys for children to enjoy outside.

The focus of the service is community building. It brings parents together and gives them relaxed access to community workers.

The service is co-funded by the Cities of Fremantle and Melville and the state government. In early June, the Department of Community Services announced it would cut its annual $60,000 contribution.

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Leisure, Arts and CCTV staff win better conditions

In late 2010 Councillor Wilson and I successfully moved the "Employment Values" policy to steer the council away from employing people on fixed term contracts, to respect workers' right to organise and to set a target of 5% indigenous employment.

We also moved an amendment to our own resolution that sought to end to the City's practice of employing Leisure Centre, Arts Centre and CCTV operator staff on an inferior scale of wages and conditions to the main staff body. Unfortunately this amendment was lost, after which Councillor Wilson and I had to keep out of the issue.

Your efforts help secure PCYC funding

While the state government is pushing ahead with their plans to withdraw police officers from the PCYCs, community outrage has forced a partial back-down. Originally they planned to leave the centres to find and fund replacement coordinators, meaning they would have to slash their activities and many would just shut down. But according to the PCYC's March newsletter:

Big crowds at Twilight Fair and Hilton Harvest leads on community inclusion

Once again the Twilight Fair was a huge success with hundreds of people gathering for another great evening of entertainment, activities and community connections. Some of the musicians were really outstanding. But as always the greatest credit and thanks must go to all the Hilton Harvest volunteers who put in such a huge effort to make the event a success. What an asset to our community this project has become.

The real issues in the Stop Lynas campaign

Australian mining company Lynas wants to export thorium and other rare earths from their Mt Weld mine through Fremantle and refine the ore at a processing plant at Kuantan on the east coast of peninsula Malaysia. The Stop Lynas campaign is not opposed to the mining of this ore. But Lynas wants to store the radioactive spoil in holding ponds situated in a low-lying coastal community that depends on fishing for its survival. The locals don't want it.

Change to fees for sporting reserves

At the March council meeting officers tabled a new schedule of fees for the use of sporting reserves (both the buildings and playing fields). The rationale for the new schedule was that up to now the City has imposed inconsistent and ad-hoc fees, with some sporting clubs paying a lot more than others; and that it should apply a transparent and uniform charges to similar users.

State government forces closure of Regional Resource Recovery Centre. Are toxic incinerators on the way?

Currently all the organic waste in your green top bin gets turned into compost at the Canning Vale RRRC. But the Department of Environment and Conservation has refused to renew the centre's operating licence, supposedly because it produces "unacceptable odours".

The RRRC diverts more than 60,000 tonnes of waste per year from landfill and prevents 70,000 tonnes tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The RRRC took $100 million of your money to build. Now the Barnett government wants it to sit idle and force the participating councils to put their waste into landfill, and pay the $23/tonne landfill levy for the privilege. This will raise them $1.5 million per year, 75% of which just goes to general revenue.

Affordable housing quota lifted to 15%

In debate around the principles guiding the new town planning scheme for the eastern end of the CBD at the February Council meeting, I moved two amendments in support of more affordable housing. The first lifted from 10% to 15% the amount of affordable housing required by developers who opt for the third tier of "additional discretionary height". This was passed 12-1, and brings the council in line with the state government's modest target.

PCYC programs under threat

A looming staffing problem in WA's twenty-six Police and Community Youth Centres is exposing the Barnett Liberal government's disregard for youth services and the complete hypocrisy of the "law and order" rhetoric that crops up at every state election.

The PCYCs are formally independent non-profit organisations, although supported by the state through the provision of police officers as full-time centre managers.

The Fremantle PCYC based in Hilton sees a staggering 38,000 visits per year and hosts a vast array of activities from the traditional sports through to guitar lessons and its award winning Noongar Healthy Lifestyle program. There is also a computer room and drop in centre, used by up to 40 young people per day; mostly from the local Noongar community.