Freo's View

LOCAL COUNCIL VOTE IMPORTANT!

Posted in city of fremantle, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 22, 2017

 

While the Fremantle local government election in October is still months away I urge everyone to make sure they are registered on the Electoral Roll. This is especially important for young people who have just turned 18 as YOUR vote is so very important.

Councils make decisions for YOUR future and you have the power to vote for the people who YOU believe will best represent you and youth issues in general.

While we have a vast-ageing population the future is with younger generations, so governments need to make decisions that are progressive and look at the long-term implications.

I was told a few years ago by university students that they are not interested in local government and that is a real shame because local government is the closest we can get to grassroots representation.

In Fremantle we have easy access to our Councillors and Mayor, so we can influence their decisions. But it means we need to participate and we need to understand how local government works.

Council and council committee meetings are not boring. They give a real insight into how the democratic process works and how complex it can be.

Councils need to do far more than putting the motions in place for street cleaning and maintenance, they are responsible for long-term strategies and policies.

We are witnessing how long-term Council planning is slowly making a very significant impact in Fremantle, with unprecedented investment through massive development in Fremantle, and a whole lot more is in the pipeline.  That was very deliberate action by a Council which realised it needed to be pro-active on trying to turn the economic downturn around and revitalise and activate the city.

But we need to have plans that will make sure that we have affordable student accommodation and for young people to live in the inner city and only when young people care to vote will they be represented by Councillors.

Fremantle does have a Youth Council, but it works in the dark and I have no idea what they are doing and how they influence the elected members. I also don’t know if many young Freo residents know about the Youth Council and how to contact them, and I don’t understand why that council is not more in the public domain.

VOTE! Get yourselves enrolled and take part in the very important democratic privilege!

Roel Loopers

FREO MAYOR NEEDS MORE THAN RA RA RA

Posted in elections, fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 8, 2017

It is very disappointing that Fremantle Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart is engaging in cheap political point scoring.

This from her Facebook page: Why does Fremantle Council insist on focusing on issues beyond local government’s remit instead of those that truly impact on Fremantle like the loss of workers from Freo Hospital, the cleanliness of the city, decline in retail and the loss of cruise ships to Freo Port…?

I was expecting a lot more class, substance and fairness from Ra who was the Chair of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce for many years and who should know how local government works.

Ra is no doubt well aware that there is a (inter)national decline in retail and that shops are vacant all over the Perth metro area and around Australia.

Ra is no doubt also aware that Fremantle Council has no power whatsoever to direct WA government agency Fremantle Port or can influence the state government to do something about the ports of Broome, Geraldton and Exmouth. They are the main reasons P&O cruiseliners will no longer call Fremantle Port home!

Fremantle Council lobbied State Government for years to keep Fremantle Hospital and the emergency department going, but Ra could not be bothered to attend Councils meetings until she had her overnight calling to stand for Mayor.

Cleanliness can be an issue in Fremantle on weekends and festival days, but many overseas tourists at the Roundhouse tell me how impressed they are about how clean Freo is. Subjective. I know.

Very disappointing Ra and you are losing me fast!

Roel Loopers

FREO FAIRNESS ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Posted in city of fremantle, community, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 1, 2017

 

The Fremantle Mayoral election campaign is under way very early with the launch of Ra Stewart’s campaign launch on Friday evening and the first election advertisement in the Fremantle Herald.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has yet to officially declare if he will be standing again but all signs are that he believes he still has a job to finish and will try to remain Mayor for another four years.

We are an opinionated lot in Freo, and Councillors and the Mayor have plenty of supporters but also plenty of haters who will criticise just about anything Council does.

I would love to see an election campaign of visions, ideas, innovation and the realisation of how strong local government grassroots is. Only at local government can we come to Council and address our Elected Members. We cannot do that in State or Federal government and we need to take advantage of the opportunity to let our Councillors know what we like and dislike.

It is probably too much to ask the community for fairness and balance and give Council credit where it is due, because we tend to focus on the negative aspects of Council decisions and tend to ignore the achievements.

I have always disliked what happens in politics when opposing parties just slam everything the other party proposes, instead of open-mindedly also acknowledging good ideas their opponents have. I found that childish and immature.

The Fremantle community is very engaged, but reading many of the comments on social media, letters to the newspapers and hearing them on talk-back radio, I am also stunned about the lack of knowledge, and people making complaints that are based on ignorance because they fail to inform themselves.

It is not fair to the Elected Members to assume one knows something and criticise them for decisions they have not made, when it is very easy to find out what has been happening at Council by reading agendas and minutes, or better even, as I do, attend Council and Committee meetings so one can hear what is being debated at Council and observe how good or bad we are represented by our Councillors.

Politics at all levels will find many people disappointed with what our politicians decide, while others will be delighted. That is just how it works and it will never change. Politicians will never ever please everyone and will either be considered too left or too right by the community, whatever our personal preferences are.

When Council approves a new family home it is likely that it upsets at least the two neighbours to the left and right, while the applicants will be over the moon, or if the proposal is rejected the neighbours will be happy but the proponent will hate Council. That is one of the many realities Councillors have to deal with every day and they do their utmost to make the right and fair decisions.

I was very much against Planning Scheme Amendment 49 because I believed it would open the doors for too excessive heights in the CBD, and I still believe those heights should have been restricted to 8-9 storeys only, but when I witness the massive development in the inner city that will see Fremantle’s economic prospects turn around dramatically in the next few years, I have to acknowledge that this is the result of PSA 49 being implemented by Council.

The Esplanade Youth Plaza was hugely controversial and I too believe that it should have been added to the reserve by building it on the Italian Club carpark site, but the enormous success of the skatepark cannot be ignored.

The Australia Day decision was very controversial but has now started an Australia-wide debate if we should change the date of it, and the doom and gloom predictions that it would be a disaster for Fremantle traders did not eventuate.

The Kings Square Project will probably be debated for another ten years but I have no doubt it will help to revitalise the inner city to the benefit of our traders. I find it futile to debate if or if not we need a new civic centre after the decision about it was made years ago, and if it should or should not be erected at our City Square.

What remains disappointing though is that the City of Fremantle still has not made public the full business plan they signed off on with Sirona Capital. We were told before the State Government signed a lease for the offices that it was commercial confidentiality that prevented the business plan being made public, but that excuse is no longer valid.

It is tactically very silly of Fremantle Council to not let us read the Kings Square contracts because it will just give more ammunition to the conspiracy theorists who believe there is something sinister about it all. Transparency and openness should not just be election buzzwords but a given at local government.

We’ll have the chance over the next five months to question and scrutinise the candidates who will step up to represent us and they should all get a fair go. That includes the sitting members because most of them have worked extremely hard over the last four years to do the right thing by the city they love. They too deserve fairness and not the utterly ridiculous and untrue assertions that they are all mere puppets to the Mayor and vote whatever he tells them to vote for. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I have observed personally for around ten years now.

Councillors are very very thorough and they take their responsibilities very serious. The challenge for us voters will be to see through the hot air and bulls… and decide if new contenders will do a better job than those who have the local council experience and knowledge. Be aware that it is easy to make empty promises when one does not understand the process of government.

I will endeavour to act as the Devil’s advocate and Freo’s conscience and report with fairness and balance during the election campaign, as I have done on Freo’s View for seven and a half years.

All Council candidates will get a fair go here and if they send me info about their campaign I will share that with the community, however I will insist on respectful dialogue no matter if you are far left or far right, somewhere in the middle, or just an undecided voter.

Roel Loopers

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KNIVES OUT FOR FREMANTLE MAYORAL ELECTION

Posted in city of fremantle, elections, local government, western australia by freoview on March 6, 2017

While WA is having a state election in five days here in Fremantle the knives are already out for the October Council election that includes electing a new Mayor.

Although Mayor Brad Pettitt has yet to announce if he will be standing and try to get another four years, former Mayor Peter Tagliaferri launched a major attack on Petitt in the Fremantle Herald, that was strongly criticised by Councillor Jon Strachan on his blog.

Strachan told ‘Tags’ that he had served under him and Pettitt and that the leadership of the two Mayors was poles apart. Strachan claims there was “deep division” in the Tagliaferri Council while the Pettitt Council professionally works together.

Strachan writes that during the greatest economic boom in W.A. Mayor Tagliaferri had failed to attract investment into Fremantle.

It is evident from all the building sites around the Fremantle CBD that the present Council headed by Mayor Brad Pettitt has opened the doors of Freo wide and very substantial development is happening in the port city and much more in the pipeline.

Jon Strachan asked Peter Tagliaferri who his candidate for Mayor will be in October. I wonder if it could be someone from the Labor party?

There are rumours abound that former state politician Adele Carles might put her hand up, but time will tell and we’ll need to wait and see if Pettitt wants to continue with the very-demanding and highly-criticised job.

On a personal note; although I have been asked by many Freo residents to stand for Council I will not contest the October election!

Roel Loopers

BE CAUTIOUS OF POLITICAL POPULIST PROMISES

Posted in elections, fremantle, perth freight link, politics, western australia by freoview on January 5, 2017

pfl

 

It’s election time so we can expect a lot of promises from all political parties, but I believe some words of caution are due, because many promises made by politicians in the past never eventuated.

Everyone who knows me knows I am strongly against building the Roe 8 highway and the Perth Freight Link because it will not solve the traffic problems to Fremantle Port. I am all for starting to plan the outer harbour that will be needed in years to come, but will Labor leader Mark McGowan be able to keep his promises and not build the PFL or will he discover, if he gets into power, that the state of Western Australia is so broke that there is no money for the outer harbour, Metronet, and other major projects he wants to build?

Will McGowan have to admit that stopping the Roe 8, after three months of frantic work on it by the State Government contractors, is going to be too costly and we can’t afford it?

Liberal party supporters will tell you that the Barnett government has done very well in investing in infrastructure, but opponents ask if Elizabeth Quay was really needed and if it is good value for money. They will rightly question the huge expense of the footbridge to the new Burswood stadium and a new train station there that will only operate during sporting matches and events, so probably only 25 times a year. Opponents will say they squandered state money disgracefully and I tend to agree.

I suggest to take promises from every politician with a huge grain of sand over the next three months, because whoever wins power will tell us they were not aware that the coffers of the state are so depleted that we can’t afford major infrastructure.

As far as the Liberals claim that jobs will be lost if the PFL is not built , surely the bridges, Metronet and outer harbour Labor promises to build will also give thousands of people work, just on different projects.

Don’t get sucked in by political populist promises because the pot of gold is missing to fulfil them all!

Roel Loopers

FARCICAL FREMANTLE ELECTORS MEETING

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government by freoview on December 12, 2016

The annual Electors Meeting of the City of Fremantle was an interesting one with public questions about the financial report and assets sales by concerned members of Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association and the Fremantle Society who are worried about the financial health of Fremantle.

There was also strong public support for the One Day in Fremantle event on January 28 next year.

The Electors Meeting became farcical though when Claudia Green for FRRA and FS put a motion of no confidence in Council, arguing that because the elected members only received votes from the wards they get voted by they do not represent the Fremantle people.

This is not a City of Fremantle issue but should be addressed with the State Government and the Minister for Local Government, as at present the democratic process for the Fremantle local government is that two people per ward get elected on council. If community groups want to change that they need to lobby the State Government.

The FRRA/FS spokes person also claimed the two groups represented many people, without giving evidence of the number of people who have signed up with them. I doubt the combined numbers of FRRA and FS would be anywhere near the combined number of votes Fremantle councillors received at elections. An indication of that is that FRRA and FS did not even manage to get enough people in the public gallery to support the two motions they put up and were both defeated.

Fact is that just about 30% of eligible voters vote at local council elections, so that is the challenge community groups should be addressing, instead of making unsubstantiated claims that they represent a majority.

In general I do agree though that community consultation needs to be improved by the City of Fremantle, but to question the validity of decisions made by Fremantle Council because supposedly they do not have the numbers to represent the electorate is……, well……., because we are close to Christmas, let’s just call it interesting instead of a much stronger word.

Roel Loopers

WHO WILL BE BEACY’S NEW COUNCILLOR?

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, elections, local government, politics, western australia by freoview on September 15, 2016

Tomorrow is another historic day for Femantle with the election of the new Beaconsfield Ward Councillor, who will replace Josh Wilson who resigned to stand for the federal election and has been elected the new MP for Fremantle.

If you are among the estimated 65% of people in the ward who have not yet voted and sent in your postal votes, you can still drop them off at the Fremantle Townhall between 8am and 6 pm tomorrow-Friday!

My gut feeling is that Andrew Luobikis will win the election followed by Hannah Fitzhardinge, Fedele Camarda and Peter Cruikshank. But one never knows which section of the electorate bothers to vote and Camarda could get many votes from the Italian community in Beacy and Hilton.

There is no doubt for me that those people disgruntled with Fremantle Council will vote for Luobikis, who has been vocal over the last two years against some Council decisions. The fact that Fitzhardinge is a member of the Labor party might be seen by some that local governments are being taken over by political parties, but women might prefer a third woman on the male-dominated Fremantle Council.

Whatever the outcome, which will be announced at the Townhall just before 7 pm on Friday, we should be grateful to all candidates for putting their hand up and wanting to make a contribution to the Fremantle community, so from me a heart-felt Thank You to all four of them!

Roel Loopers

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CHRIS BROWN WANTS COMPENSATION FROM LABOR

Posted in democracy, elections, fremantle, politics, western australia by freoview on September 13, 2016

In a surprising and sensational move disgruntled ALP member Chris Brown has engaged the services of prominent lawyer John Hammond to claim compensation for being removed by the Labor party as the candidate for the federal seat of Fremantle before the recent election.

Brown was replaced by Josh Wilson for not disclosing spend convictions to the party, but he claims that was discriminatory.

Wilson was backed by the Fremantle branch of the ALP but the state conference selected the MUA backed Brown, who was then removed to make place for Wilson who was subsequently elected as the new MP for the federal seat of Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

 

 

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A BEAUTIFUL SUNNY FREMANTLE DAY

Posted in elections, fremantle, tourism, western australia by freoview on May 30, 2016

fun with the freo fishers

 

The sun is out so a nice start of the week. Enjoy it and appreciate how special it is to live in Fremantle.

I need a bit of sunshine after the dull and uninspiring leaders debate between Turnbull and Shorten. Decided to switch the TV off after 40 minutes of repetitiveness and realising none of them has a real vision for Australia.

These kids were enjoying the great Greg James sculptures in the Fishing Boat Harbour yesterday.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE CANDIDATES FEDERAL ELECTION DEBATE

Posted in elections, fremantle, western australia by freoview on May 25, 2016

The traditional CANDIDATES DEBATE is on again for the Federal Election and will be held at Tannock Hall corner Croke Lane and Cliff Street at 6 pm on June 21.

The event is organised by Notre Dame University in collaboration with the Fremantle Network, Chamber of Commerce and Fremantle Society and should be a lively one.

Meet and question Labor’s Josh Wilson, Greens Kate Davis, Socialist Alliance Chris Jenkins and the Liberal candidate Pierrette Kelly.

It’s a free event so come and grill the candidates!

Roel Loopers

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