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

Parents win fight to save "Buster the Fun Bus"

By Justine Kamprad (from www.greenleft.org.au)

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.

What boom? Training for youth and dignity for migrant workers, not visa rorts

Who really runs this country? The announcement by the federal government that it has struck its first Enterprise Migration Agreement with the world's richest woman Gina Rinehart reveals just how eager our governments are to serve the mining millionaires.

Youth unemployment in Kwinana is at 26.4%. So why a skills shortage?

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.

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