Freo's View

WE ALL GOT RED BLOOD AND BROWN SHIT

 

There is plenty of time for contemplation and soul searching during the cold and wet winter days and nights, so when it was suggested to me that I should try to speak at one of the new TEDx Fremantle events about Perception and Reality, I wondered what it was I would like to speak about.

My thoughts don’t comply with the TEDx Fremantle categories of; only good science, no political agenda and no religious proselytizing, so I decided to just write down my contemplations and publish it here on Freo’s View instead. Here it is:

When we talk about reality and perception we should start with the elephant in the room first, and that is that Australia is not the best country in the world. Simply because no country is! There are many great countries in the world. I lived in three of them.

Our soldiers are not braver than those from other countries, and there is nothing specifically Australian about people helping each other in a crisis. When there are floods in Bangladesh, earthquakes in Mongolia, or wars and disasters in other parts of the world, the communities rally to give a helping hand.

Australia has lived on the urban myth of being the fair go country, but how can we claim that when the British settlers mostly ignored Aboriginal culture and language and treated our indigenous people as primitive idiots. How can a fair country take children away from their parents to bring them up as Christians and does not allow them to speak their native languages, and how can a fair country allow many of these children to be abused and raped?

How can we believe to be the fair country when we ban genuine refugees from coming to Australia, but lock them up instead in camps of neighbouring countries, but want priority immigration for supposedly ‘endangered’ white South African farmers?

How can we claim that we live in the best country on earth, when tonight, like every night, 115,000 homeless Australians sleep rough in the cold and wet?

The perception of greatness has always confused the Australian identity and that’s why we are still looking for one. We are not the Akubra hat-wearing cowboys, who live in the red dirt outback, but 90% of our population lives on the coastal plains and in big cities.

You might be surprised now when I say that I really love living in Australia, and even more that I live in Fremantle. But we need to start cutting the crap and let go off the hubris, because to be able to move forward together as a community and nation we need to acknowledge the harsh reality that Australia is far from perfect and that there is a lot of room for improvement.

We at the grassroots need to insist that political debate is about issues and has substance, and is not about point-scoring and name-calling, and we need to let all politicians know that we will no longer put up with their infantile behaviour in our parliaments.

We need to stop believing in the urban myth of our own greatness and start by showing real compassion for the less well off in our society.

It is not acceptable that we spend millions of dollars on non-essential things when our pensioners are barely making ends meet, when our hospitals are over-crowded and have long waiting lists, as does social housing, and when so many suffer from serious mental health issues.

Australia joined the so-called war on terrorism, but why haven’t we begun a war on poverty, and a war on unemployment and homelessness?

We are not all equal when multinational companies don’t pay tax, but low-income earners, pensioners and people on social benefits constantly get scrutinised to the point that is causes anxiety and depression for many.

It is good to have dreams, but it is not good to live in dreamworld and ignore the pragmatic reality of Australian life. Racism is a daily experience for those who are not white, and verbal abuse is also a daily worry for Muslim women, who have become the easy targets for ignorant fools. Western Australia has the highest rate of domestic violence in the nation!

Australia is a beautiful country, and I strongly believe that most people are good, caring and tolerant, and even more so here in Fremantle, but there are also many intolerant haters, who do not positively contribute to our community.

The Australia I love was summed up pretty well one evening in the Fitzroy Crossing pub in the stunning Kimberly when a drunk and huge Aboriginal man looked down on me in the toilet and said “Isn’t it amazing brother that we both have red blood and brown shit.” Yes indeed. We have a lot more in common than what divides us!

My wish for Australia is to wake up to reality and stop claiming that this is the best country on the planet. There is a huge different between being proud of one’s nation or becoming dangerously-and unrealistically- nationalistic. We can only find Australia’s real identity when we stop the tokenism and engage in real reconciliation with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. To do that we need to use the word RESPECT more often.

To show real respect we need to acknowledge Aboriginal people in our constitution, we need to build a substantial Aboriginal cultural centre in Fremantle, so that overseas visitors can engage and learn about our indigenous history and culture, and we need a memorial on Rottnest Island telling the awful story of the inhumane Quod Aboriginal prison, where nearly 400 boys and men from all over Western Australia died.

Only with real mutual respect, and only with real, deep and soul searching honesty can we make Australia the best country in the world. Dismissing and patronising others is only holding us back.

Roel Loopers

INTERNET ACCESS MEANS INDEPENDENCE FOR DISABLED PEOPLE

Posted in art, city of fremantle, communication, daada, disability, internet, Uncategorized by freoview on June 6, 2018

 

 

The beautiful hall of DADAA, the former Fremantle Boys School at Princess May Park, was packed full this morning for the launch of the CENTRE FOR ACCESSIBILITY  by Stephen Dawson MLC.

The CFA’s aim is to promote digital access for people with a disability. This is not about compliance, but about people!

A short video showed the major issues for disabled people when accessing the internet. “Every website has got too many words. Very difficult to find stuff” “You want my cash, make your website accessible”

Stephen Dawson MLC said the Centre for Accessibility was about effectively engaging with on-line content and that it needs to be stressed that it is about independence for people with a disability.

The on-line informations needs to be available to everyone, as every person has a unique contribution to make to the community. Abled people sometimes take for granted what others don’t have. It is about breaking down the barriers!

The first three targets to improve on-line information are local government, providers of disability services and arts organisations. Many others will no doubt follow and make their on-line content more accessible to disabled people, e.g. add captions to video content, provide a transcript for audio-only content such as podcasts, audio volume needs to be adjustable, when using audio alerts also provide the visual equivalent.

The former Chair person of DADAA Helen Errington gave a very insightful speech with a lot of humour. She was not impressed with the early 8.30am launch and suggested to take the A out and make it a lunch next time.

Access to the internet means independence for us, she said, as it enabled her to do on-line food shopping, socialise via Twitter and Facebook, do research, find tradespeople and services, etc.

We were isolated before the internet and going out is often an ordeal. “Through the internet the mountain has come to Mohammed. We just want to be included”

I believe the Centre for Accessibility is a significant step forward toward real equality. It is practical and achievable rather than tokenism. See: http://www.accessibility.org.au

Well done to all involved. This is a great initiative, so very disappointing that I did not see anyone from the City of Fremantle in the crowd.

Roel Loopers

 

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BEACY COMMUNITY MEETING WITH MAYOR

Posted in city of fremantle, community, council, democracy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 1, 2018

 

mayor-in-the-square-800x430

 

Fremantle Council quite often, and often unfairly, gets accused of not communicating and consulting with the community, so tomorrow morning Beaconsfield residents and business owners can chat with Mayor Brad Pettitt and some Councillors at Davis Park from 11.30am.

The Mayor in the Square has been taken to the suburbs for a while now, so that community members do not have to come to Kings Square on Wednesdays to meet the Mayor.

Your local councillors and City staff are always available to answer queries, so don’t hesitate to contact them. They are there to work for us!

Roel Loopers

SOLAR FARM COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Posted in city of fremantle, community, family, health, local government, pollution, solar, Uncategorized by freoview on April 19, 2018

 

The public gallery at the Ordinary Council meeting in North Fremantle last night was packed full with people, many of them families and children with placards.

They were there for the Solar Farm Business Plan item on the agenda, that deals with the proposal for the solar farm on the former heavily contaminated South Fremantle tip site.

Most speakers supported the Solar  Farm but were very worried about possible health implications for the community if the contaminated soil gets disturbed. They wanted to be assured that all possible safeguards would be in place to make sure that the health of their children would not be affected by any work on the site.

One man in his ignorance claimed that Council had underhandedly sneaked the Solar Farm through without public consultation, when in fact this has been on the public record for nearly a decade and the public consultation process will start with the planning application, since that is a legal requirement. Last night’s item was only about starting a business plan.

The unsuccessful recent South Fremantle election candidate thundered “Shame on you council!” for ignoring the consultation process, but that is factually wrong. She must have forgotten that she attended the community consultation meeting in the Townhall organised by the solar farm proponents and she should also know how due process at local government works and that every box has to be ticked under the local government act, and that the Solar Farm proposal was widely reported in the local media.

It is very frustrating to time and time again hear members of the community complain they did not know anything about planning proposals and blame council for their own ignorance, when these plans have been announced on the City’s weekly page in the Herald and reported in the Fremantle Herald, Fremantle Gazette, on Freo’s View, on the CoF website, Facebook and other social media platforms.

To claim that Councillors try to sneak a planning proposal past the community without them noticing it is insulting and laughable, as it would be in contradiction to the Local Government Act. Our elected members are not crooks who do sinister deals the community is left in the dark about!

Mayor Brad Pettitt assured the public gallery that Council would only approve the proposal if it was safe for the community.

The community needs to take ownership and has the onus to inform itself as one cannot realistically expect to receive a letter in the mail for every new plan in the city.

Health issues are extremely important for the Solar Farm proposal and under the Contaminated Sites Register and EPA laws stringent environmental guidelines will have to be adhered to if any soil disturbance is to occur, and we all will make sure that it will be monitored daily! I too live not far from the site and the southerly wind could easily blow contaminated dust here where there is also a primary school.

Roel Loopers

FREO MAYOR OUTSIDE THE SQUARE

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 4, 2018

 

The Mayor in the Square sessions with Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt are conducted outside the square to be more accessible to the community.

This Thursday from 11am the Mayor will be at the Lumos cafe in Minilya Avenue, White Gum Valley.

On Saturday from 1.30pm Brad Pettitt will be at Samson Park to talk to people there. This coincides with the community consultation session about new equipment for the playground.

Roel Loopers

HAVE YOUR SAY ABOUT FREO

Posted in city of fremantle, communication, community, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 1, 2017

 

Have your say

 

The City of Fremantle is keen to get community feedback about how they communicate with the residents and ratepayers, to find out what is working and where Freo City can improve.

When you fill out the communications survey you have the chance to win some great prizes, including a double pass to the Fremantle Falls Festival, a Fremantle Arts Centre art course or a $100 voucher at Strange Company.

What information would you like to receive from CoF? How can they make better use of social media? How do you find navigating the City’s website?

The City of Fremantle is keen to do a better job of communication and this survey is the community’s chance to shape the approach.

Give your feedback on-line at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CoFcommsurvey  or pick up a survey from the library or the customer service desk.

The survey closes on Friday 19 January 2018

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NEW FREO KIDS ON THE BLOG/BLOCK

Posted in city of fremantle, communication, Uncategorized by freoview on November 3, 2017

 

blog or block

 

As a blogger I know too well how easy it is to let typos slip through when copy reading, so with a bit of Schadenfreude I discovered today that I am not the only one who makes mistakes.

The Fremantle Story advertisement in the Herald today should have read block instead of blog, but unlike this blogger the City staffers don’t have the luxury of  correcting a mistake once it’s gone into print. When I publish a typo, which I do far too often, and notice it I can still change it, which means I only look like an idiot a few times a week.

Check out all the new kids on the Freo blogs and block anyway! ; >)

 

Roel Loopers

FREO’S DISCONNECT A PRIORITY

Posted in city of fremantle, communication, community, seniors, Uncategorized by freoview on October 26, 2017

 

With the election finally over we can now all move on and create an even better Fremantle together.

After talking to many people and monitoring social media, there is no doubt that there is a serious disconnect between the City of Fremantle and the community, and an us and them feeling, as many people feel being left out or ignored.

Mayor Brad Pettitt clearly also picked that up, as his recent blog post indicates.

# There need to be better services in the suburbs, because people in Samson, Hilton and North Fremantle feel they are not cared for and that their rates are spent elsewhere.

# The coordination of social services is a must. Only last week no accommodation could be found for a desperate woman, but there were 30 beds available at 100 Hampton Road that night C0F staff said. That is not acceptable.

# We have a vast ageing population in Australia, and Fremantle already has a higher percentage of seniors than most councils, so they need to be considered more. My suggestions of a Circle of Elders, similar to the Youth Council, has not been taken on so far by Fremantle Council, so not sure what their reluctance is.

# Better communication is essential as the majority of people I talked to while door knocking did not have a clue of what goes on at council, and they also don’t understand the separation between the administration and council and what responsibilities the staff have.

Not communicating with the community means there is a silly dislike of council, and the City of Fremantle is by many seen as the enemy of the community, so how do we connect?

Many people who work at Freo City actually live in our city and are one of us. Our Councillors all live in Fremantle, but for newly elected City Ward Councillor Adin Lang, who lives in Cockburn, but has an office in Freo.

So staff and councillors are not strangers, but part of our community, people we see on our streets and in cafes and shops. That story needs to be told.

Collaborating, networking, brain storming, respectful dialogue, genuine community consultation, better listening and being less cynical are all ways forward to building our future together.

Fremantle is a great place with a great community, and we need to embrace positivity instead of indulging in negativity.

WE CAN DO IT FREO!

Roel Loopers

250+ CLICKS TO FIND OUT WHAT’S ON AT FREO FESTIVAL

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, culture, fremantle festival, Uncategorized by freoview on October 25, 2017

 

Wardarnji

 

I had another look at the City of Fremantle’s pathetic attempt to promote the Fremantle Festival this year, as there is no printed program, for environmental reasons.

On the homepage of the Freo City website there is no mention of the festival, so I clicked What’s On? but no mention there either. From there I went on Fremantle Story. There is nothing on the front page there either that promotes the festival, which starts in two days, and will visitors to Fremantle click on the Fremantle Story website to find out, if they are unaware the festival is on?

I then went on the Fremantle Festival website, and on the homepage I clicked on schedule, which gave the option to click on the individual days, which I did.

I now got a lot of colourful images for each event, but to find out at what time and in which location they are I would have to click on each and everyone of them.

Do you have any idea how many clicks and how time-consuming that would be ? You’d need to do more than 250 clicks to find out what is on during the two-week festival!

There are 9 images for the 27th, 23 for the 28th, 25 for the 29th, 18 for the 30th, 20 for the 31st, 21 for November 1, 30 for the 2nd, 29 for the 3rd, 33 for the 4th, 31 for the 5th, 10 for the 9th, 9 for the 10th, 8 for the 11th and 6 for the 12th.

As a commercial photographer I have been in the communication industry for 50 years, but have never come across anything so inadequate to promote a festival.

I have no doubt there will be many Facebook pages for individual events, but one needs to know first the events are on before one can connect with them on social media.

Does anyone at the City of Fremantle and the website design company really believe people will make the effort to find out what is on when it will take forever to do so?

The attention span in the modern world is very short, so this form of communication is far too tedious and cumbersome. Which planet do you live on guys?

 

Roel Loopers

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NO PRINTED FREMANTLE FESTIVAL PROGRAM

Posted in city of fremantle, cultural, fremantle festival, Uncategorized by freoview on October 23, 2017

 

I just found out that the City of Fremantle did not print a Fremantle Festival program this year, supposedly to be more sustainable as far as hardcopies go.

This sits very well with my previous blog post today about the City not communication well.

I was told the website would give me all the information. It does, but it is cumbersome as there is no simple overview of events with dates and times

Click on http://www.fremantlefestival.com.au  You then have to click on schedule and get more photos, and then have to click again on the individual images to find out what time they start.

What is wrong with a basic graphic calendar-style overview with the dates, titles of events and times, for heaven’s sake?!

Not having a printed program also cuts out tourists visiting Fremantle, as in the past we have handed them programs when they visit the Roundhouse.

This is again a clear example of the City administration relying far too much on the internet and not accepting that many people are not connecting to it.

 

Roel Loopers

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