Freo's View

NO FREO PORT AND ROE 8 IN SPENDING CHECK

Posted in economy, finances, fremantle, state government, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on May 15, 2017

I am surprised and disappointed that WA Premier Mark McGowan has not included the cost it has taken to prepare for the sale of Fremantle Ports in the inquiry into the spending of the Barnett Liberal/National government.

A meeting I attended at the Port well over a year ago was told they were spending millions of dollars on lawyers, consultants and experts to make the port ready for privatisation, which will not be going ahead under the new Labor government.

The inquiry announced by the Premier today will be headed by former under treasurer John Langoulant and will investigate 26 projects.

They include: Elizabeth Quay, Perth Stadium and Swan footbridge, land assets sales, Ord River Irrigation Project, Pilbara accommodation, Pilbara underground power project, Ningaloo Centre, Bulgarra sports complex, Wanangkura stadium Port Hedland, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Children’s Hospital, QE II Hospital, Karratha Hospital, St John of God Midland, IT at Department of health, outsourcing of non-clinical services, NurseWest, Muja power station, Synergy billing, Synergy and Western Power contracts, Western Power Woodlands and Vista, Road Safety Commission’s Rugby WA partnership, Buyback Scheme renewable energy, Temporary Personnel Services common use arrangements, Next ICT project.

But not Roe 8 and Fremantle Port and that wonders me a lot. Why were they excluded from the extensive list?

Roel Loopers

FREO ARTISTS DON’T BELIEVE COLIN IS DOING HIS JOB

Posted in art, artists, beeliar wetlands, election, fremantle by freoview on February 14, 2017

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The Fremantle Artists Anonymous have painted a political artwork at Stevens Reserve in protest of the destruction of the Beeliar Wetlands.

Now that Colin did his Valentines with Pauline I hear the new election slogan of the Liberal Party will be IT’S ABOUT POWER, NOT POLITICS!

Roel Loopers

BE CAUTIOUS OF POLITICAL POPULIST PROMISES

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

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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

WA PREMIER THREATENS COUNCILS ON INFILL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, state government, western australia by freoview on April 11, 2016

The West Australian newspaper reports that W.A. Premier Colin Barnett threatens to override local council decisions on density infill if councils don’t increase the targets and do what is expected of them by the State Government.

The Premier has instructed new Planning Minister Donna Faragher to meet with all councils and make them aware that no to infill will not be tolerated.

Barnett expressed he would like to see more terrace-style housing and also so-called micro-blocks.

I think it is very important for the Fremantle community to take note of this, as many accuse Fremantle Council of being on a wild development chase, when in fact the pressure has been coming from the Barnett government for years.

The last thing we in Fremantle should want is the State to decide where residential infill should happen, or leave it to Development Assessment Panels who will just about do what developers want.

Fremantle needs good, sensible, restraint development of outstanding architecture. Terrace housing would fit in a whole lot better than ugly high and medium density  concrete boxes, so let’s work toward achieving that.

Roel Loopers

FREO MAYOR LIBERAL FEDERAL CANDIDATE

Posted in elections, fremantle by freoview on April 1, 2016

In a sensational announcement the Liberal Party will today endorse Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt as their candidate for the seat of Fremantle for the Federal election. This is a huge surprise and no doubt a shock to Sherry Sufi, Perette Kelly and Philip Mercer who had all indicated their desire to be nominated.

My Liberal party informant told me that Premier Colin Barnett pulled rank and demanded Brad Pettitt be the candidate. It has been known for a long time that Barnett and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson are big fans of the Freo Mayor and the way he has cranked up development in the port city.

The announcement will not please the Greens, who nominated lawyer Kate Davis as their candidate, but it was known Brad Pettitt was not impressed the Greens did not nominate him, although he put a brave face to it and told the media he had not finished with his job at the City of Fremantle and there was still a lot to be achieved.

It will also see the Mayor battling for the seat against Maritime Union heavyweight Chris Brown, who defeated Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson as the preferred Labor candidate, so the knives are out.

The seat will become vacant after Melissa Parke MP retires, and while Fremantle is still considered a safe Labor seat it is clear that the Liberals believe they have a real chance of winning it with such a high-profile candidate as Brad Pettitt.

I don’t believe anyone should underestimate Brad’s chances, as he has a very large number of followers in Fremantle and a very high public profile, far more than Brown and Davis together.

It looks like we are going to have a very heated election campaign that will challenge traditional Liberal voters, who mostly dislike the Fremantle Mayor because of his Green credentials and pro-bike, anti-car policies. To run the party line they would have to vote for someone they can’t stand, so will they do that?

Fascinating times ahead for Freo. I can’t wait for the public debates!

Roel Loopers

COULD LABOR LOSE FREMANTLE?

Posted in elections, fremantle, politics by freoview on March 13, 2016

Political parties are often their own worst enemy with internal power plays making the community very cynical about the real purpose of these parties. Do they truly want the best for our country, state, city, or is it just about egos and factions?

The Labor party in W.A. probably has a very good chance of winning next year’s state election after the financial mismanagement of the state by the Colin Barnett Liberal government, but now Stephen Smith and his supporters are threatening the stability within the party and a challenge to leader Mark McGowan is likely to happen in the next few months.

In Fremantle we have an outstanding candidate in Josh Wilson for the federal election, but union might and silly faction power plays are threatening the supposedly safe seat, because the MUA wants largely unknown union man Chris Brown to become the candidate.

I  sincerely hope the Labor party and unions will do what is best for Fremantle because I already hear many disgruntled voices from committed Labor voters who say they will put in a protest vote if Josh Wilson is not selected by his party. If the Liberals put a strong candidate up they will have a good chance of winning the seat if Chris Brown represents the Labor party in Fremantle.

Chris Brown will not win a single additional vote for Labor but might well lose a whole heap to the Greens. Swaying Liberal voters might have voted for Josh Wilson, to keep the Greens out, if there is no Liberal candidate for Freo, but they will definitely not vote for a union representative, so the ‘safe seat’ could well be lost to a very strong and popular Greens candidate in Kate Davis.

As a traditional Labor voter I too will put my protest vote in if Chris Brown gets selected by his party ahead of the highly respected candidate Josh Wilson. Heed my warnings Labor!

Roel Loopers

FEDERAL LABOR WANTS PERTH FREIGHT LINK INQUIRY

Posted in environment, fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on January 7, 2016

Federal shadow minister for infrastructure Anthony Albanese has demanded that the Federal Auditor-General investigates Canberra’s involvement with the WA PERTH FREIGHT LINK.  Albanese claims there has been “systemic failure” in the government’s infrastructure program that was announced in 2014.

Federal Government pledged to support the $ 1.6 billion PFL project with $ 925 million, but Supreme Court Chief Justice Wayne Martin ruled in December that the approval by the state’s EPA-Environmental Protection Agency and the Minister for the Environment for the Roe 8 highway was invalid. Premier Colin Barnett has since been quoted that the state will go through the environmental approval process again but that it does not have to accept the outcome of the process. This means the state government could go ahead with Roe 8 even if a new EPA report recommends against approving it.

Anthony Albanese wrote in his letter to the Federal Auditor-General that it is a concern Canberra is involved in the Perth Freight Link, the now collapsed EastWest Link project in Melbourne and the $ 6.8 million cost overrun of the WestConnex motorway in Sydney.

Roel Loopers

PERTH FREIGHT LINK NEW YEAR SOLUTIONS?

Posted in city of fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on December 30, 2015

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Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt is on the job 24/7, even when on holiday in Esperance with his beautiful partner Emma, as today’s opinion piece in the West Australian newspaper shows.

Brad argues that the twin crisis of the WA State’s $ 3,1 billion budget deficit and the Supreme Court ruling about the invalidity of the Roe 8 highway gives the Barnett government the opportunity to reconsider its priorities and that the Property Council, Regional Development Australia, the Kwinana Industries Council and local councils Fremantle, East Fremantle, Kwinana, Cockburn and Armadale all want the Outer Harbour at Kwinana built as a priority.

Brad Pettitt writes the outer harbour has wide environmental and community support and that there would be direct and indirect employment for 75,000 people working on the project, which the government estimates would take up to 20 years to complete.

A very valid point the Freo Mayor makes is the excessive cost of the planned Perth Freight Link at an estimated cost for the tunnelled section of $ 4 million per 10 metres of road constructed. The entire 5.5 kilometre long PFL is estimated to cost between 400-500 million.

I think all points the Mayor raises are valid but we do know that the start of the outer harbour would not mean the end of Fremantle Port activity as the Kwinana port would only be an overflow port, so how would we deal with increased truck traffic to the inner city port without better road connectivity to it?

While everyone would like to see an increase on freight by rail the possible capacity for it is estimated to be only 30 per cent, which means more than 70 per cent of freight to Freo port would come by road.

The second point I want to make is the severe environmental impact on Cockburn Sound if an outer harbour is built and I doubt the environmental groups who oppose the Perth Freight Link would just sit back and let the Sound being negatively affected without protest.

It appears there are no solutions that will not have negative impacts on the environment and on affected communities and while Professor Peter Newman’s suggestion of putting it all on conveyor belts and underground might sound so simple one would have to ask what additional cost there would be for double handling of containers and if we would be prepared to pay more for imported goods to help protect the environment and our lifestyle.

There is no doubt the outer harbour will be needed in the not too distant future and that the Perth Freight Link planning has been an utter mess of incompetence, but there is the need to stop traffic chaos in North Fremantle and elsewhere in the immediate future.

While the concept of the PFL might be a federal government idea it will be counter productive to make it simply a political football where Labor, the Greens and environmental groups bash the Liberal Federal and State governments. It would be much better if they all connected in a think tank and try to find practical solutions instead of political grandstanding.

Roel Loopers

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BARNETT CLAIMS SILENT MAJORITY WANT ROE 8

Posted in fremantle, perth freight linl, state government, western australia by freoview on December 28, 2015

There is no doubt for me that one of the greatest inventions of spin ever made is the ‘Silent Majority’ claim. Politicians use it more and more to argue they do have strong community support from those who don’t speak out for controversial decisions and policies, and WA Premier Colin Barnett decided to finish the year with it.

In the West Australian newspaper today Barnett says that he believes there is strong majority support for building the Roe 8 highway extension and that the protests and the Supreme Court win against it won’t harm his party’s chances of winning the next state election. If the Premier is so sure about it why not wait then with signing off on Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link till after the election, so voters can show him if they support the controversial highway to Fremantle Port. That way the ‘silent majority’ will have a say and are no longer the hidden voiceless, faceless people in the burbs who always support government decisions.

The other great spin invention to hide behind and to stop scrutiny and transparency is the claim that there is ‘Commercial Confidentiality’ that can’t be made public when the community asks questions, e.g. the new Perth Stadium and here in Freo the Kings Square project financial plans.

One of Premier Barnett’s biggest disappointments was the failure of Local Government reform and should he win the next election he will not doubt try to gain more power over local government and that is a big worry as DAPs and SAT already rubber-stamp unacceptable development against the wishes of local governments and communities.

The silent and vocal majorities want the building of the outer harbour to be prioritised, no matter what happens to the Perth Freight Link, so why not get on with that and show the voters concrete plans and a timeline before the next election, Premier?

Roel Loopers

 

 

FREMANTLE SOCIETY LIKE LEMMINGS OFF THE CLIFF

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society,, Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2015

At last night’s AGM the Fremantle Society members decided to go back to the past by electing former Fremantle Councillor and former FS president John Dowson as their new leader. Dowson received about 80% of the votes while the other candidate Chris Lewis received just a fifth of the votes.

It was packed house with over one hundred members attending the meeting, so at least a presidential vote pulled them our of their lethargy.

I believe that the vote for Dowson is one for going back to negativity and anti just about everything and the attitude that Fremantle Council is the enemy. As one disappointed member said “It is like lemmings off the cliff.”

While we might have expected spin from former PR guru Chris Lewis it was John Dowson who did the spin and name dropping when he addressed the members and claimed to have single-handedly rescued the Warders Cottages because he had written a report for “Colin” Forget all the efforts Freo Council put in, all the presentations they made and forget also the submissions about it by the Fremantle Society and other members of the public, including I here several times on this blog.

So Dowson plays tennis with “Colin” but what good has that done for Fremantle? Did “Colin” support Freo Council when Dowson was an Elected Member, I think not.

Dowson will do what Dowson does best and that is make FS a narrow-focus organisation that will get a kick out of negativity and will oppose any major development in Fremantle. Like a political party that opposes anything the opposition proposes, the Fremantle Society will treat Fremantle Council as the enemy and the Brad bashers and Council kickers now have another organisation that will basically be about negativity, unwillingness to compromise and unwilling to collaborate with Council. That in my opinion is not the way forward and it is bad for Fremantle.

The negativity, the smear campaign and the conspiracy crap used by the Dowson supporters paid off, so it is still true in Australia that more people vote for those who run a negative campaign.

While FS members might live the dream that under JD the Society will save Fremantle from modernisation I should remind them that at the October election the voters did not ditch six sitting members to show their unhappiness with Council, and I remind them also that major development is not approved by Council but by State agencies DAP and SAT.

I sincerely hope that my fears are wrong and that the Fremantle Society under JD will try to remain progressive, pro change, willing to collaborate with Council and be a positive force in our city, but I fear the worse. Time will tell, and no doubt so will all the nasty comments that will be posted and attack me.

Roel Loopers

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