Freo's View



Fremantle Society president John Dowson likes to make outrageous claims, as long as they are negative about Fremantle Council, so this alleged statement by former WA Premier Colin Barnett surely must be taken with a grain of salt.

In his latest email message to FS members JD claims that: “Recent controversial decisions of Fremantle Council, particularly relating to Australia Day, and being told that the council still refuses to fly the Australian flag from the Town Hall long after spending $3 million to fix it up, led the former Premier to tell the Fremantle Society this week that : “If I was still Premier, I would put Fremantle Council into Administration.”

So are we really to believe that a state government would put a local government, which has been pro-active in encouraging extensive development and urban infill, into administration just because they don’t fly the Australian flag and don’t celebrate Australia Day on January 26? I doubt that very much!

Dowson also suggested in a recent email to FS members that Fremantle’s new destination marketing should be about telling stories, such as that Prince Phillip was in Fremantle Port for one day during WW II. Yep, that would get thousands of Chinese, Indonesian and Malaysian tourists rushing to Fremantle for sure. OMG!

And have the FS members noticed that their president talks about himself like the Queen? The Fremantle Society met the former premier, the Fremantle Society met David Attenborough, etc. when it was only JD meeting these people?

The AGM of the society was held last night and I fear we’ll be getting another year of unbalanced narrow-minded negativity and anti-change, anti-development and anti-progress messages from its president.

Roel Loopers





The announcement by WA Premier Mark McGowan about the Fremantle High Street upgrade has resurrected the debate about the canceled Perth Freight Link and Roe 8 highway.

There have been quite a few letters in the West Australian in support of Roe 8 and the PFL and there was an opinion piece by Liza Harvey MLA, who was the deputy premier of the previous government under Colin Barnett.

It is very intriguing to note that Liza Harvey now suddenly writes there would be other options for the McGowan government to consider than going through the Beeliar wetlands. If that is the case, why did the former Liberal/National state government not consider those options but instead, and in spite, decided to start the demolition of the wetlands, although all the indications were that they would be kicked out of government. Liza Harvey’s hypocrisy is unbelievable.

Fact is also that the Perth Freight Link was not exclusively for freight and trucks, as some letter writers claim and that it actually did not go to Fremantle Port but finished at Stirling Highway. A part solution really was no solution. Ask North Freo residents!

The new plans are not ideal either as they don’t address pedestrian crossing adequately and while I do like roundabouts I don’t like that so many Perth motorists don’t seem to know how to use them, so that could become a problem.

Freight trucks have overturned in the past at the intersection of High Street and Stirling Highway because of taking the corner at excessive speed, a roundabout won’t fix that problem either.

A new outer harbour is still a very long way away and freight to the port will no doubt increase, so when is the state government going to address more freight by rail?

Roel Loopers


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


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



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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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



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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