Freo's View

PREMIER BARNETT’S CONTEMPT FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, state government, western australia by freoview on February 18, 2015

Colin's company

Dear Premier Colin Barnett,

I heard you say on ABC radio yesterday that you are not going to compensate Councils involved in the amalgamation reform process you initiated because they had run expensive NO campaigns against the proposals. We here in Fremantle did not oppose amalgamation but embraced it, with the condition that we would get the best possible boundaries for Fremantle and that we would amalgamate with East Fremantle instead of being swallowed up by Melville.

The City of Fremantle and the community-lead Fremantle Forever campaign were not against your reform but supported it. All we asked for were best outcome changes to our City’s boundaries.

Your government, dear Premier, messed up the process because of lack of community consultation prior to trying to implement the reform. To now blame Councils for its demise is childish to the extreme.

You expect the City of Fremantle-the ratepayers-to pay for the shambles you created and that shows how far remote you are from reality and facts. Like your Federal mate Tony Abbott and other so-called political leaders your arrogance is disproportionate to your governance.

What has your government ever done for Fremantle, Mister Barnett? When was the last time you visited our city? When will you stick to your promise of relocation a substantial government department to our city? When will you replace the old railway bridge and create modern, fast and safe container transport to the port instead of the ridiculous Roe Highway extension that will see huge traffic chaos and diesel pollution in North Fremantle?

Your Liberal party insulted the intelligence of Fremantle voters, and embarrassed your own party members, at the State, Federal and Mayoral elections by putting an ignorant and uninformed candidate, who has not even read Politics for Dummies, up against Melissa Parke, Simone McGurk and Brad Pettitt.

Your lack of care for Western Australia’s second city and major port and tourist destination is unbelievable and unacceptable!

Where is the State’s investment in Freo’s future, Premier? When will your government repair the neglected eyesore heritage-listed Warders Cottages in the centre of our city instead of building more monuments elsewhere to celebrate Your Emperor’s greatness?

The people of Fremantle deserve and demand State Government support. We do not deserve the contempt your treat our City with!

 You created the Local Government Reform mess. Now pay for it!!

 Roel Loopers

BIGGER FREMANTLE DUMPED BY PREMIER BARNETT

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on February 17, 2015

As expected the Council mergers as proposed by State Government will now also not go ahead, after the amalgamations fiasco where East Fremantle ratepayers rejected to become part of a bigger City of Fremantle, and Kwinana refused to go with Cockburn.

The suggested new boundaries would have seen Fremantle lose Samson but gain parts of Melville and Cockburn, but that has now also been scrapped.

Thank you for wasting our time and money Premier Colin Barnett, Minister Tony Simpson and the Local Government Advisory Board. You should all hang your head in shame about the unprofessional shambles you created. To blame individual Councils is pure hypocricy!

Roel Loopers

COUNCIL AMALGAMATION COLLABORATION

Posted in fremantle, local government, town of east fremantle by freoview on December 22, 2014

The latest info from the State Government on local government reform:

Metropolitan Local Government Reform Update

Planning for projects
Questions about whether proposals for major local government projects can still go ahead have been raised by a number of councils preparing for changes to their boundaries next year.

Decisions on this are a matter for the councils involved to determine and, from the outset of the reform process, councils have been encouraged to work together to get the best results for their communities.

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson has highlighted the need for local governments to liaise with each other in relation to any major decisions that may impact on them in the future.

With the changes now only months away, it is vital for this to continue.

Collaboration role
Collaborating and providing advice to their councils on such situations is one of the areas in which the relevant Local Implementation Committees can make a major contribution.

Each LIC includes senior representatives from the local governments that are coming together to form a new or adjusted district. A liaison officer from the Department of Local Government and Communities also attends each LIC meeting and some committees include a representative from the WA Local Government Association.

The LICs provide the opportunity for the different councils to work together and identify what would be in the best interests of the new local government and their community.

They also participate in each Metropolitan Reform Implementation Committee, the high-level committee established to oversee the implementation of the reforms.

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WHO WILL GOVERN FREMANTLE AFTER AMALGAMATION?

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, town of east fremantle by freoview on December 19, 2014

If the local council reform bill passes parliament and if the East Fremantle electors poll against it is unsuccessful the new City of Fremantle will have one or more Commissioners from July 1 next year for at least five months.

Fremantle Council prefers to wait with new council elections until a ward system has been put in place, which would delay an election until March 2016, so how good or bad will it be for the enlarged Fremantle to have a Commissioner. History tells us that Commissioners are not just taking on a caretaker role but that they actively engage in governance and implementing new policies. There was quite a bit of controversy about that in Cockburn and Cannington with many unhappy residents.

At Wednesday’s full council meeting Councillor Rachel Pemberton suggested that the Mayors of Fremantle and East Fremantle, together with an independent person should be appointed as Commissioners for Fremantle, but is that the most desirable outcome? Councillor Bill Massie opposed the idea saying that no one who would stand for council at the next election should become Commissioner because it would give them unfair advantage. With so many individual residents and residents’ groups like the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association(FRRA) and the Fremantle Inner City Residents Association(FICRA) unhappy about Fremantle Council and Mayor Brad Pettitt I wonder if the Freo community would be happy to see him making unscrutinised decisions for our city for up to nine months. At present there are 13 elected members at Fremantle Council and majority votes are required, but should only three people decide Freo’s future our Mayor’s focus on bicycles, high buildings and environmental sustainability might not sit too well with those in the community who are not Pettitt supporters. The same would apply to East Fremantle residents who are not happy with their present Mayor Jim O’Neill and who don’t want him to make big decisions for the new Fremantle without them having a say in it.

I am not sure that a city could only be in caretaker mode for nine months, with major decisions delayed till after the community has elected their new representatives, but I am also worried about the power of only one or three people to make irreversible – and possibly disastrous-decisions the community does not agree with. In a caretaker only mode the Commissioners could be the CEOs of East Fremantle and Fremantle together with an independent person, with restrictions put on their power by the State Government.

Roel Loopers

THE FUTURE OF WA LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Posted in fremantle, fremantle society, local government by freoview on December 6, 2014

IS WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PLANNING REFORM THE DEATH OF COMMUNITY DEMOCRACY?

The Fremantle Society Annual General Meeting will be held this coming Monday, 8 December 2014 – 6 PM for 6:30 PM at Victoria Hall, 179 High Street, with renowned planning law authority and Local Government Act expert, lawyer Denis McLeod as special guest speaker on the topics including planning and local government reform.

This year’s Annual General Meeting is an opportunity for the Fremantle community to gain an understanding of how town-planning law affects the community.

Guest speaker, Denis McLeod, founder of the firm McLeods Lawyers, will address the AGM.

Denis’ experience includes:

over 40 years of representing local governments and other local government work – including advising on major developments and drafting zoning schemes;
numerous planning appeals and trials in the Supreme , Federal and High Courts;
defending actions against development schemes
Denis has spoken and written on current issues such as the amalgamation of local councils and Development Assessment Panels (DAPs). He has been honoured as a Life Member of the Local Government Planners Association in 1991, Honorary Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia in 1993, and Adjunct Professor at UWA in 2008. He teaches planning law to students at UWA and Curtin.

All are welcome!

Roel Loopers

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THE DEATH OF LOCAL COMMUNITY DEMOCRACY?

Posted in fremantle by freoview on December 2, 2014

 IS WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PLANNING REFORM THE DEATH OF COMMUNITY DEMOCRACY?

The Fremantle Society Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday, 8 December 2014 – 6 PM for 6:30 PM at Victoria Hall, 179 High Street, with renowned planning law authority and Local Government Act expert, lawyer Denis McLeod as special guest speaker on the topics including planning and local government reform.

 This year’s Annual General Meeting is an opportunity for the Fremantle community to gain an understanding of how town-planning law affects the community.

Guest speaker, Denis McLeod, founder of the firm McLeods Lawyers, will address the AGM.

Denis’ experience includes:

  • over 40 years of representing local governments and other local government work – including advising on major developments and drafting zoning schemes;
  • numerous planning appeals and trials in the Supreme , Federal and High Courts;
  • defending actions against development schemes

Denis has spoken and written on current issues such as the amalgamation of local councils and Development Assessment Panels (DAPs). He has been honoured as a Life Member of the Local Government Planners Association in 1991, Honorary Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia in 1993, and Adjunct Professor at UWA in 2008. He teaches planning law to students at UWA and Curtin.

All are welcome!

Roel Loopers

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LOCAL COUNCIL DEMOCRACY MYTH

Posted in city of fremantle, democract, local government by freoview on November 29, 2014

The recent debate at Fremantle Council about Ward representation and local government elections made me think about the relevance of them when only around 25 percent of the electorate bothers to vote at Council elections, while the rest stays at home. So do we really get community representation and the claimed community democracy I speak so highly about?

Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association(FRRA) President Mark Woodcock made good points earlier this week about it, writing that in the 2011 Council election Bill Massie, Jon Strachan and Robert Fittock got in unopposed while in the 2013 election Josh Wilson and David Cogging did not have candidates standing against them. North Fremantle Ward Councillor Fittock was unopposed at the 2007 and 2011 elections, so how could he possibly claim to speak on behalf of constituents.

That is not an attack on Robert or any of the other unopposed Elected Members, but showing that there is an unbelievable apathy when it comes to electing community leaders to speak on our behalf at local councils. From memory just over 25% of voters bothered to vote at the last Freo Council election.

In light of these figures, would it make one iota of a difference if we have a Ward system in place at the start of the council amalgamation with East Fremantle? Aren’t Wards very NIMBY anyway and not relevant to the bigger picture, because Councillors are required to vote for what they consider best for the entire community, not just the Wards they represent.

We often read about silent majorities when elected members in local, state and federal governments go against the opinion of the vocal and involved members of the public, but if the so-called silent majority at Council level can’t bother to vote they have no voice and should not claim to have a silent one.

If you can’t be bothered to turn up at the Townhall once every four years to vote for your preferred local candidate for your Ward than you have given away your right to whinge and to expect better representation for your local issues. You are not part of the silent majority but of the apathetic majority. That apathy is shown every week at Council committees and full Council when hardly anyone turns up in the public gallery. Often it is just Mark Woodcock and I who sit through those evenings observing how local democracy works. Only those with a self interest now and then turn up and address council, often not even understanding basic Council procedures.

Democracy is a privilege that people in many countries in the world still only can dream about, but we in the western world take it for granted and give it the cold shoulder, when it should really matter to all of us who will lead Fremantle into the future. Having Wards is less important than getting rid of voters apathy.

Roel Loopers

THE PROS AND CONS OF FREMANTLE COUNCIL WARDS

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on November 27, 2014

Among a long list of agenda items Fremantle Council last night debated the pros and cons of having a Wards system in place for the first election of the new supersize-withoutf fries- City of Fremantle after the amalgamation with the Town of East Fremantle.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan held a passionate speech in support of the Wards and how important they are for real local government democracy and input from the community in Council’s decision-making process.

Councillor Doug Thompson however warned against waiting for Wards to be implemented as that would mean extending the time a Commissioner will be in charge, saying Commissioners could do a lot of harm and might undo what Council has been trying to achieve for years. He cited Canning and Cockburn as examples.

I am a strong supporter of local government as that it where real grassroots democracy can work if Councillors listen to and respect the opinion of the community, but at the same time I wonder if for example the City Ward electors, especially business owners, feel well represented by Councillors Pemberton and Naber.

It was interesting to hear from CEO Graeme McKenzie that State Government has indicated they might prefer to make the Mayors of the amalgamating councils Commissioners with support from a third party. The many strong opponents of Brad Pettitt could well be up in arms if he was given almost free reign for nine months or so.

Interesting times ahead for Freo!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE SOCIETY LEADERSHIP ON AMALGAMATION

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society by freoview on October 23, 2014

Freo Forever 2

 

I know I am biased as the Vice President of the FREMANTLE SOCIETY, and it is probably bad manners to blow one’s own trumpet, but too many people have a negative opinion about the very active lobby group, so we deserve credit for our hard work in light of yesterday’s Local Government Reform announcement by W.A. Premier Colin Barnett.

From the very start the Society showed great leadership. When we first heard about a proposed amalgamation with the City of Melville, committee immediately decided to take action and try to retain Fremantle’s unique character and identity.

President Henty Farrar and I had a meeting with Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and suggested a community campaign, which Brad supported as a good idea to have a two-fold approach to State Government. But we wanted to make it a positive campaign that embraced amalgamation, however wanted different-and better-boundaries for our city.

Our first action was a full-page Sock It Colin! advertisement in the Fremantle Herald and the action grew from there, with many young locals, such as mural graffiti artist Lady Bananas, skaters, etc. wanting to be part of it, as was David Settelmaier, staff member of Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk. FREMANTLE FOREVER was born!

We wrote submissions, created a printed and on-line petition and volunteers were out and about at the train station when Dockers games were played at Subi, we were at the Growers Green and Bathers Beach Sunset Food Market, cafes, the Fremantle Markets, the High Street Mall, etc. and we had a large number of signatures that were presented to Parliament.

And all the time we liaised closely with Mayor Brad Pettitt, who shared most of the Fremantle Forever campaign meetings.

Both Fremantle Forever and the City of Fremantle asked for the same boundaries that would be at Stock and Phoenix roads and that would see East Fremantle merge with Fremantle. Our sister city is dear to us and most of us see it as part of Fremantle, so merging with East Freo made sense.

Yesterday we got the great news that is a milestone for Fremantle. Our population will double, we will have control over development along the southern beaches and the City of Fremantle will remain. The brand Freo will grow even stronger thanks to outstanding leadership and collaboration between the Fremantle Society, the Council and the community. We did very well and should be very proud of our efforts. I am!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE WINS AMALGAMATION BATTLE!

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on October 22, 2014

Freo Forever 2

 

What a great win for Fremantle today’s announcement of the new boundaries at the Local Government reform are! Fremantle more or less got exactly what we asked for with the new boundaries including the amalgamation with East Fremantle and following Stock Road in the East and Phoenix Road down South, while North Fremantle remains with Freo.

This has been an exemplary and outstanding collaboration between the City of Fremantle council and administration and the local community. Our positive attitude toward boundary reform paid off.

We did not accept the initial proposal of being swallowed up by the City of Melville and the Fremantle Society started the great Sock it Colin campaign that became the bipartisan and non-political Fremantle Forever campaign. Volunteers were at the markets, train stations, cafes, etc, to collect signatures for our submission, where we asked the State Government to consider and embrace our alternative boundaries. The City of Fremantle did the same. We never said no to amalgamation, we just wanted the best possible boundaries for Fremantle that would retain our identity and unique character.

Today is a really good and proud day for Freo and I am very proud I did my bit to achieve that.

A big thank you to the Fremantle Council, CEO and officers and to the many volunteers of the Fremantle Forever campaign, and to Colin Barnett for putting his hearing-aids in. We did it!!

Roel Loopers

The new City of Fremantle will be formed by an amalgamation of the City of Fremantle and the Town of East Fremantle. The amalgamation brings together strong communities of interest with similar values and community aspirations. The new local government will have increased capacity to plan for the broader district, including the port and the Cockburn Coast development which will be situated in one local government, enabling more coordinated planning and development. With the focus on the Fremantle strategic activity centre, including the port, and the expansion proposed for the central business district, the city will have the amenity and services to support local residents and visitor populations. The city will also have more capacity to plan for the heritage and environmental priorities of the district’s communities. The changes will see Bicton, Palmyra, Point Walter Reserve, part of North Coogee, Hamilton Hill and Rottnest Island all included in the city. Samson and part of O’Connor will be in the City of Melville. The Local Government Advisory Board recommended the City of Fremantle’s Proposal 12, with minor amendments.

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