Freo's View

FOUR DAYS TO CELEBRATE AUSTRALIA

Posted in australia day, city of fremantle, indigenous, Uncategorized by freoview on November 12, 2017

 

The announcement by the City of Perth that it will extend next year’s Australia Day celebrations to a four-day long weekend shows that the City of Fremantle is on the right track with its changes to the national holiday.

The scrapping of the fireworks in Fremantle last year was controversial, and unfortunately the debate about it became political and sometimes racist for all the wrong reasons.

Yes, there could have been better community consultation, especially with the business community, but from experience we know that community consultations can drag on forever and not necessarily create the best outcomes. Leadership is about making tough decisions, in the knowledge one will never ever please everyone in the community.

Perth now wants fireworks on New Year’s Eve as well, which I consider a huge waste of money. Why have two firework displays just 26 days apart, or will they also walk away from the Australia Day firework display?

But I would love to see the Fremantle ONE DAY event extended and also have a night feature. Projections, laser show, lit-up floats at Bathers Bay, etc.

I would prefer it if BID spend the business money and energy on creating an evening event, instead of supporting only the Fishing Boat Harbour traders and share the cost of the Australia Day fireworks.

Fact is that most shops were already closed well before the spectators for the fireworks turned up, so there was little benefit for other traders, while the One Day event started in the afternoon when shops are still open.

Fremantle is different from Perth and other cities and I support the consideration for our indigenous people who call Australia Day Invasion Day, so let’s move on together, as other councils around the nation are now also doing.

Historically January 26 means nothing to Western Australia as the Britih had not even settled on this side of the country when the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay, so the date is only significant to New South Wales.

Like Perth, let’s celebrate Australia over the long weekend, until our politicians change the date to a more appropriate one that does not upset our indigenous friends.

Roel Loopers

 

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EMPTY PROMISES NOT GOOD FREMANTLE ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, elections, Uncategorized by freoview on August 19, 2017

 

When will politicians finally stop making empty promises during election campaigns?

The West Australian article today on the start of Mayor Brad Pettitt’s campaign and the Fremantle local council election, reports that Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart has promised to restore the January 26 Australia Day events in the port city, should she get elected.

Neither Ra Stewart nor present Mayor Brad Pettitt have the power to make any changes on their own, as they will need at least half of the twelve elected members to vote with them to make any changes, or implement new policies.

The wannabe Mayor is just exhaling meaningless hot air, unless she wants to change Fremantle Council into a dictatorship where she on her own can decided what goes on in our city. I prefer democracy.

I wonder when she will start promising free steak knives to those who vote for her.

 

Roel Loopers

AUSTRALIA DAY THREAT TO LOCAL COUNCILS

Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 15, 2017

 

Australia Day smoking ceremony in the Fremantle Roundhouse

 

According to a report in the West Australian today the Federal Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has written to all 547 local councils in Australia, and warned them that they will be stripped off their right to hold citizenship ceremonies, if there are politically motivated attacks on Australia Day.

Fremantle Council this year stopped the Australia Day firework on January 26 and instead had a One Day event on the Esplanade on the 28th.

The fireworks still went ahead and were paid for by the Fishing Boat Harbour traders.

I am not sure that I consider the now national discussion about a more appropriate date to celebrate Australia Day as political motivated. It is only genuine consideration for Australia’s indigenous people, who consider January 26 as invasion day.

 

Roel Loopers

LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS NOT JUST (ABOUT) RUBBISH

Posted in australia day, city of fremantle, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on July 31, 2017

 

With the Fremanle local government election just two months and three weeks away I have been contemplating what the role of local government actually is.

Some people in our community believe it is all about delivering services, collecting rubbish, cleaning streets, etc. but is there a bigger picture our Elected Members should also be involved in?

I personally believe there is because local politicians are the closest to grassroots democracy and should inspire state and federal governments.

I asked Dr. Martin Drum, Professor of Politics and International Relations and Chief of Staff of the Vice Chancellor at Fremantle Notre Dame University and this was his reply:

“Elected representatives have both a deliberative and representative function. We focus a lot on the deliberative part, where our MPs and councillors are empowered to make decisions on our behalf. They decide what proposed developments can and cant proceed, they decide what does and doesn’t get funded. Some people argue that this is all our elected representatives should do.

But our representatives are also expected to represent the community which elects them. In electing them, we have authorised them to do this. Representation is arguably even more important than deliberation because it helps shape the identity of a community. Our councillors are the voice of the people they represent. If you ask me, its especially important for elected representatives to speak up for people who dont have the capacity to represent themselves.

Fremantle is a special part of Western Australia. It’s a little different to other areas. Local representatives need to speak to this difference. That is why the council, the sum body of local representatives in Fremantle, should feel free to speak up about the date of Australia Day, especially if their community has communicated this to them.

Elected representatives get judged not only by the decisions they make but also by how effective they are at representing people.

Whether a particular policy position is a good or bad one (such as moving Australia Day, opposing Roe 8, banning plastic bags) is up to the Fremantle community to judge, but there is no doubt that elected representatives are entitled to speak about them. We expect that people we elect become a voice of the people they represent, so they should speak up.

Those who are running as alternatives should likewise feel free to express their views on these issues. Competition for political office is healthy and should be welcomed. We then expect the public to judge them on that come the next election. That’s why I think being accountable and transparent is important.

Personally I always hope that debate focuses on the issues rather than the person, but that’s a pretty idealistic position these days.”

There is no doubt though that Council needs to have its priorities right and that people in the community rightly complain when basic maintenance is not done. One has to consider and acknowledge though that the day to day running of the City of Fremantle is done by the administration.

There is also an absolute and non-negotiable need for excellent community consultation, which was lacking on the Australia Day changes. This should have been handled much better as it polarised the community and became a political, and sadly sometimes racist, debate.

The positive thing about the initiative of Fremantle Council is that the Australia Day date and plastic bags ban now have become a national debate and that looks like pretty healthy democracy to me.

I agree with Dr Martin Drum that the debate should focus on issues rather than on the person. Respectful dialogue is essential to move forward together, and I especially am aware that it is not always easy to keep that in mind when one has a passion for Freo.

 

Roel Loopers

LOCAL COUNCILS WANT AUSTRALIA DAY CHANGE

Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 21, 2017

The decision by the Australian Local Government Association, which represents 560 local councils, to lobby the Commonwealth to change the date of Australia Day away from January 26 is a clear indication that the City of Fremantle’s decision to no longer have firework and celebrations on Australia Day was not a lunatic decision by some lefty socialists, but good and sensitive leadership that is now debated all around the country.

January 26, the arrival of the First Fleet in Botany Bay, Sydney, is seen as an insensitive date to celebrate Australia by many of our indigenous people, who regard the day as Invasion Day.

ALGA will at their July meeting decide what action to take, so stay tuned.

Roel Loopers

RETHINKING AUSTRALIA DAY

Posted in australia day, education, fremantle, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on May 22, 2017

UNDA presentation

 

The Fremantle Heritage Festival starts this week with the unveiling of the Townhall conservation works at 11.30 am on Friday, so come along.

Notre Dame University students are jumping the gun though with two interesting presentations at the Maritime Museum on Thursday between 1.30 and 3 pm.

They will present a professional report titled Recasting Australia Day and and exhibition proposal Country and Conflict at Swan River 1829-1850.

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AUSTRALIA DAY CHANGE ECONOMIC IMPACT

Posted in australia day, city of fremantle, local government by freoview on April 10, 2017

With the discussion on changing the date of Australia Day now going on all over the nation, with Bassendean, Cockburn, Hobart and other local councils considering it, a survey by Fremantle BID-Business Improvement District is worth attention.

BID asked their CBD member about foot traffic and trade figures during this year’s Australia Day, where the City of Fremantle had abandoned the firework, and it is definitely not all doom and gloom.

Around 50 per cent of business which participated in the survey said that foot traffic past their business had not changed compared to previous Australia Days, around 15 per cent registered a decrease and some 30 per cent a significant decrease in foot traffic.

Nearly 60 per cent of those who took part in the survey said there had been no change in their trade compared to previous Australia Days, but some 25 per cent recorded significant decrease in trade and about 15 per cent said they had a decrease in trade.

It has to be noted that less than 11 per cent of BID members decided to take part in the survey.

Festivals are on average good for the hospitality industry but do not show a significant increase in retail trade, so the verdict is still out on the economic impact of a non firework Australia Day and alternative celebrations on another day.

Time will tell if more local councils want to change the date, but WA Premier Mark McGowan is not in favour of it.

Roel Loopers

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IT IS OKAY TO NOT AGREE!

I am very disappointed that social media brings out so much negativity and bullies and name-calling as there is absolutely no need for it. It is okay to disagree and have a different opinion but it is not okay to express that by making personal and unwarranted attacks on those who disagree with you.

The cancellation of the Australia Day fireworks by the City of Fremantle has resulted in vile attacks on Fremantle Council and more specifically Mayor Brad Pettitt and he does not deserve that.

As the Mayor Brad Pettitt is the spokesperson for Fremantle Council but he does not and can not under the local government act make dictatorial decisions on his own. The Australia Day decision was made by full council and required a majority vote.

To claim that 99.9 per cent of Fremantle people are against the Council decision is not based on any facts or surveys, so why make that claim? Facts are these: 15,000 people attended yesterday’s One Day in Freo concert, 1,300 attended the Nyoongar smoking ceremony at the Roundhouse, and  60 people attended the pro Australia Day rally the day before. And 5223 people viewed my photos of the smoking ceremony here on Freo’s View and many others on Facebook.

The same applies to the Roe 8 protests. You want Roe 8 and believe it will be good for traffic and some local communities. Fine, you have every right to express and support that, but please do not call these genuinely concerned people the unwashed, dreadlock, dole bludgers, etc. as the protestors represent a big cross section of our community. They are business people, mums and dads, pensioners, etc. and not some leftwing loonies.

It is healthy to disagree and it is great that we live in a country where we can openly express our opinions and feelings, but we can do so in a mature and rational way without making personal, defamatory and insulting attacks on people who stand up for what they believe is right. We are better than that!

Roel Loopers

MOVING NYOONGAR SMOKING CEREMONY AT ROUNDHOUSE

Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, indigenous, roundhouse, western australia by freoview on January 28, 2017

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The W.A. Nyoongar First Nation people held a major cleansing smoking ceremony at the Fremantle Roundhouse and Bathers Beach this Saturday morning.

The very moving event attracted around 1,300 people to Arthur’s Head and made me quite emotional.

This was an event about Nyoongars and Wadjelas moving forward together and left me with real hope for the future.

This was not anti Australia Day but pro Australia. It was not about victims and perpetrators but about real reconciliation with mutual respect and about considering an alternative day to celebrate Australia.

One Day in Freo continues at the Esplanade today from 2 pm and from 4 pm with a concert with Mama Kin, John Butler and Dan Sultan.

Join in and spread the love!

Non commercial organisations are free to use these photos. Just drop and drag. Credit: Roel Loopers.

Roel Loopers

P.S. Unfortunately I won’t be able to take photos of the Esplanade event as I will be on guide duty at the Roundhouse for the Fringe Festival show there this evening.

AUSTRALIA DAY TOO HOT FOR FREO FIESTA

Posted in australia day, bathers beach, fremantle by freoview on January 27, 2017

The claim in the Fremantle Herald today by Fishing Boat Harbour traders that Australia Day was a big hit for Fremantle businesses is a very one-sided view of the reality. It’s more like a Donald Trump alternative facts statement.

The fish&chips traders in the FBH might have done very well when thousands of people came to Fremantle in the early evening to watch the fireworks, but during the day there was hardly anyone in the city centre because it was simply too hot, so many businesses did very little trade at all. We had only 114 visitors at the Roundhouse compared to over 1,400 two weeks ago.

No one is to blame for that and it is a shame the Freo Fiesta efforts were hampered by the hottest Australia Day in 79 years, but let’s not try to make a very average day look like it was an outstanding success because the Fishing Boat Harbour people organised it.

Also funny to read that the FBH traders have approached State Government to get $ 500,000 to install a shark net at Fremantle’s most underused beach where one rarely sees more than a handful of people in the ocean. No wonder the City of Fremantle is not keen about the idea, that I believe would be a waste of money.

But having said all that, I believe the City of Fremantle needs to become serious about the activation of Arthur’s Head and what better way to do that than activating the gorgeous inner city beach. More significant signs to promote the beach would also help.

Bathers Beach needs public toilets, showers at the northern end near J Shed and the extension of the boardwalk all the way to J Shed. Creating better connectivity between the Victoria Quay and the Fishing Boat Harbour and linking the Maritime Museum, Roundhouse and Shipwreck Museum would be very helpful.

The Whalers Tunnel also needs to remain open longer in the evenings so there is direct access from High Street for people to watch the sunset and the lit up cliff face there.

There are a lot better ways of spending half a million dollars on Bathers Beach than a shark net.

The FREO FIESTA is on today and all weekend, so check it out! More info on http://www.fremantlebid.com

Roel Loopers

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