Save Fiona Stanley Hospital Community Action Group

Are you interested in being part of a community group that is taking action against the Barnett Government privatising essential health services at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch? Do you want the government to know that the community doesn’t want Serco, who run prisons and immigration detention centres in WA, to be running essential health services at Fiona Stanley Hospital? For more info contact Dave Hume (Convenor) 0459 456 358. To see what the State Government is doing with our public hospitals visit www.fionastanleyprison.com and www.inpublichands.com or check out the Youtube http://youtu.be/9xsQ1tLp6yk

News Ltd wages war on local council for supporting Palestinian human rights

Last year the Marrickville Council in inner-city Sydney passed a policy resolution in support of the non-violent struggle of the Palestinian people for their human rights. Since then The Australian and other News Limited media outlets have gone into a hysterical frenzy, accusing the councillors of being dangerous naive anti-Semitic extremists. Actually they're just ordinary community members; some of whom are in the ALP, some in the Greens and some who have no political affiliations.

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MOU with Homewest to save Hilton houses

Council has voted to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Housing aimed at preventing the department from demolishing its traditional Hilton houses.

The agreement would allow the department to build a small rear dwelling (as per the new small dwelling policy: see below) except that the new dwelling would be put on a green title. However both the new and original dwelling would have to be served by the same driveway so that it not have the appearance of a battle-axe sub-division.

Hilton precinct: Thanks to Mary for all her work

Mary Barton has decided to take a break from the role of Hilton Precinct Secretary. Mary has done a great job for over the last year or so, setting the bar with her dedication to creating a caring community spirit in Hilton.

Hilton has often been one of the city’s more dynamic precinct groups, not least because Mary has gone to the trouble of preparing the meetings and inviting guest speakers to guarantee healthy discussion (and sometimes vigorous debate).

In particular Mary should be thanked for putting in hours of her own time into the survey of Hilton residents which was really important in the formation of the new Hilton Planning Policy. Thanks Mary!

New small secondary dwelling policy

The February meeting of council passed a resolution that would enable home owners to build and rent out small “granny flat” style dwellings.

Currently these can only be leased to family members (that’s the theory anyway), which is a bit absurd. These sorts of smaller dwellings would fill a need for large number of students, single people and those on low incomes who don’t want or can’t afford to rent a whole house; and who don’t need or want off-street parking.

The change would also enable home owners to realise some income from their property without having to do a whole rear strata type subdivision if they don’t want to (even if their property is big enough for a battle-axe block).

Greedy BCA attacks people with disabilities

On February 14 the Business Council of Australia which represents Australia's biggest 100 companies called on the Federal Government to cut the disability pension as an alternative to the Queensland flood levy. How low can these grubs go? Only days later it's biggest member BHP-Billiton posted a record $10.5 billion first half profit.

While it's used to having governments bend to its will, it's unlikely the BCA really expected Gillard already struggling in the polls, to choose this as the moment to slash the incomes of people already living below the poverty line. But clearly the BCA couldn't resist a chance to bang away on one of its favourite themes; welfare should be cut to encourage people to find work.

Carinya aged care workers battle on

A big thanks to residents who responded to the call to support the workers at the Carinya aged care facilities in Bicton.

These workers have been in negotiations over a new enterprise agreement for over seven months. The management wants them to trade-off one week of annual leave in return for a 28c/hour pay rise in the third year of their agreement. Can you believe it! Because they refused they were locked-out without pay for seven days.

Fortunately FairWork Australia ordered an end to the lockout but the workers are still out of pocket for five days work. You can contribute to their hardship fund by contacting the LHMU on 1800 199 890 or wa@lhmu.org.au

Strike action heralds ‘Year of the Wharfie’

Wharfies employed by stevedoring company Patrick at four different ports across Australia took strike action in the last week of January in pursuit of a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).

It was the most significant industrial action on the wharves since the 1998 Patrick lockout.

In recent ballots organised by Fairwork Australia, workers at the strike-affected ports voted (by margins of 94% to 100%) to take a range of different forms of industrial action to press their claim.

Do you need bike rails at your bus stop?

The council’s Climate Change and Sustainability Committee of which I’m a member has got funding to install bike rails at busy bus stops. A number of bus stops along South St could be candidates. If there are spots where you’d like these to be installed then let me know.

Sam's speech at rally for democracy in Egypt

Rally in support of the Egyptian revolution, outside Wesley Church, Perth, 5 February 2011. Organised by the Egyptian Community in Perth.

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