Freo's View

FREMANTLE BEST LOCATION FOR ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

“It is well beyond our capacity of funding” said Councillor Andrew Sullivan about the Council agenda item to do a $ 50.000 feasibility study for a Fremantle Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the preferred J Shed location at Bathers Beach.

And that is unfortunately the huge problem, because indications from the WA State Government are that they want to built the Aboriginal centre in Perth, ideally in Burswood, the electorate of Ben Wyatt, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Treasurer.

While I would absolutely love to have an Aboriginal Centre in Fremantle, and have been calling for it for many years, I believe it is unrealistic for the City of Fremantle to do a feasibility study before getting funding commitment from the State. Should we spend $ 50,000 of ratepayers money on what might only be a pipe dream that will never be realised because the State Government is so bloody Perth-centric?

If I were wealthy I would be very happy to donate my own money for an Aboriginal Centre in Freo because the story of our indigenous people needs to be told, and international tourists need to and want to have an Aboriginal experience.

Now how can we convince the Premier and Cabinet that Fremantle deserves another tourist attraction?

Roel Loopers

THANK THE LAW MY SISTER DIED WITH DIGNITY

 

Last night our time my oldest sister Marja died in the Netherlands. She was euthanised.

I am not sharing this with you because of narcissism but because the Western Australian government also want to legalise doctor assisted dying and I believe that is a very humane intent. There are community information sessions and community consultation and a very long online survey that took me 20 minutes, but is worth doing.

I am so grateful that my sister died in her own bed in her own home and with dignity and that she had plenty of time to receive family and friends and say goodbye.

The process she had to go through was lengthy and very thorough before an expert committee decided that she was eligible for euthanasia.

Legalising assisted dying is about giving people a choice instead of forcing them to commit suicide in awful and very lonely ways. It should not be politicised or being kidnapped by religious leaders.

There is no threat to religious or cultural values. No one can be forced to be euthanised and neither can doctors be forced to administer it. In my sister’s case her new doctor-the old one had retired-told her it was too early in his young career to feel comfortable assisting her so she was referred to an older colleague.

My sister Marja was assessed on her health and mental health by different practitioners who wrote reports which were considered by an independent panel. There was nothing easy or flippant about that process and not at all what some panel members at last year’s Notre Dame university forum claimed.

Call me an old cynic, but it comes as no surprise to me that the billion dollar age care industry and the billion dollar palliative care industry are against euthanasia, and so are those who believe that only a god can take a life. For those of us who are not religious the promise of heaven, paradise or nirvana is irrelevant, but euthanasia is our pragmatic and humane choice if life is coming to a painful, slow and unstoppable end. We don’t let animals suffer, so why not apply the same compassion to human beings.

It is astounding how unprepared we are for death. It is the elephant in the room that not many people want to talk about. We are not taught how to deal with it, so at the end we try to deal with it the best we can with empathy. I was lucky to be able to Skype with my sister often over the last couple of months and that was good for both of us.

Marja was just three years older than I am and was always there for me. She had inoperable cancer. I am so grateful that she was allowed to die with dignity. All her pain and worries are now over.

Roel Loopers

FREO RAILWAY CROSSINGS CONCERN

Posted in fremantle by freoview on June 21, 2011

I would love someone from the PTA or City of Fremantle explain what is going on with the rail crossings around town. We had frantic activity a couple of months ago near the rail line that runs through the west  of the city, installing new electric pedestrian gates at some crossings, but the one below the Round House at the end of High Street still does not operate. Why?

Why also are there no automatic gates at one of Fremantle busiest railway crossings near Cicerello’s at the Fishing Boat Harbour?

Roel Loopers

SAVE THE KIMBERLEY. IT’S OUR BACKYARD!

Posted in australia by freoview on November 28, 2010

The PROTECT THE KIMBERLEY rally at the Cottesloe Civic Centre attracted around a thousand people, including Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, on this stunning Sunday morning.

Speakers stressed the importance of the Kimberley as a unique heritage listed wildlife sanctuary that should not be destroyed by greedy multinational companies. Questions were raised as to why Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett is so desperately trying to get a huge industrial plant approved in such pristine location.

While participants in the rally were told not to sit on the heritage listed walls of the civic centre, a ranger could not be bothered to open the public toilets before the event, but had enough time to give tickets to cars parked on the verges. Very poor form Cottesloe! And, Mr Ranger, if you want to make a political point, go protest, write letters to newspapers, whatever, but don’t hinder those who have a democratic right to a peaceful rally and had permission to do so.

Roel Loopers

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ADELE CARLES ON MARGARET MINING

Posted in australia, fremantle, perth, politics, tourism, western australia by freoview on September 10, 2010

This is the Hansard entry of the speech by Fremantle independent MLA Adele Carles about a proposed mine in the Margaret River region.:

When I think of Margaret River, I think of pristine surf beaches, vineyards, boutique industries, organic food, tourism, agriculture and native forest. All of this bundles into the Margaret River brand, which the local people have lovingly created over decades and are now being forced to defend. I do not think that anyone in this house associates a coalmine with the Margaret River brand, yet strangely, LD Operations thinks it can open a coalmine there.

There is a lot at stake here; what is clear is that this company intends to proceed, despite overwhelming opposition to this coalmine. In an article in The West Australian of Tuesday, 7 September, the general manager of LD Operations was quoted as saying — Similar to all other project developments in WA, we expect the Vasse coal project to be scrutinised by the Government under the same threshold requirements to meet each stage of project approval, In other words, LD Operations is seeking to pursue its legal right to mine coal in Vasse. Yes, it has the legal right to pursue approval, but there are political decisions that will have to operate alongside these technical approvals to make this mine site work.

The state government will have to be on side with LD Operations to make it work. The Bunbury port will need to be upgraded, presumably at taxpayers’ expense. There will need to be a road constructed through state forest, and there will be massive increases in heavy vehicle usage on local roads, all to the detriment of local people. I understand that this mine will generate one truck movement every nine minutes. I seek the Premier’s personal assurance that his government will not facilitate the taxpayer-funded infrastructure needed to support this coalmine. I urge him to spell this out to the proponent, so that it gets the message loud and clear: this mine is not welcome in the region and the pursuance of approvals will be a waste of time and money for it. While we are talking about legal rights, who will compensate the affected landowners—the local businesses that fall within the mine precinct?

This mine will be situated at a distance of 15 kilometres down Osmington Road from Margaret River, and every farm along that road has already been devalued by this proposal. How can they sell now, even if they wanted to? Compensation arguments cut both ways here. If this mine goes ahead, it will truly be the thin end of the wedge. Is the Premier aware that there are as many as 10 mining leases between Dunsborough and Augusta? If this one proceeds, how will he reasonably stop the others? The south west could become a coal province instead of the beautiful tourism region that it is now. Coalmining is clearly incompatible with the land uses, lifestyles and existing industries in the region. For example, Margaret River wine is of world-class standard.

Is the Premier aware that Cullen Wines of Margaret River has this week won an award in London for producing the world’s best chardonnay? Cullen Wines beat hundreds of chardonnays from around the world, including France and Italy, in the most fiercely contested categories. Winemaker Vanya Cullen said that while 2007 was a great vintage, the wine also reflected the biodynamic techniques used since 2004. What an achievement! I do not think such accolades would be possible if the grapes grown in the region were affected by contaminated groundwater, which is a serious risk from this proposed mine.

Underground coalmining is fraught with risks of environmental impacts. I could go on and on but I am limited by time. The greatest risk is contamination of the Leederville aquifer by toxic heavy metals liberated by acid mine drainage from the coal seam or hypersaline discharge. Once an aquifer is contaminated, it cannot be remediated; the aquifer is permanently damaged and will, in turn, ruin the crops it is used on and possibly harm the humans and animals who use water drawn from it. This may also cause negative impacts on underground water supplies that our farmers rely on and contribute to Margaret River itself drying up.

How many projects in WA have we seen approved by the Environmental Protection Authority with strict conditions and world’s best practice claims only to pollute and contaminate the air and water around us? The answer is plenty. We can take our pick from Cockburn Cement, Alcoa’s Wagerup refinery, the brickworks at Midland, acid contamination at the Beenup mine or lead contamination in Esperance. We do not need EPA assurances.

We can look to New South Wales where BHP subsidiaries operate an underground coalmine. The mine was recently identified as a source of hypersaline water waste contamination into the Georges River by independent researchers at the University of Western Sydney. The plume of saline groundwater travelled 15 kilometres before damaging the river and its ecosystems. I note that that is the distance of this proposed mine from our precious Margaret River. There are all sorts of other negative impacts that we can look to New South Wales for. A 2007 scientific report stated — Widespread cracking and draining of river and creek beds and underground aquifers, cliff falls, the draining of rare swamps, fish kills, methane gas bubbling to the surface, iron oxide pollution and the release of wastewater into river systems continue to occur across four coal mining regions of New South Wales as a result of longwall mining. I turn to the human face of this issue. The people who will be directly affected by the mine are those who live in close proximity to the site and whose businesses will be negatively affected. I had the privilege to speak to many of them last Sunday. They are living with uncertainty and stress. Some said they are considering selling as they do not want to live near a mine. Others wonder if they should move on from their businesses now. None of them wants to take this action but they are fearful of what they stand to lose.

I call on the Premier to act quickly and decisively to restore certainty and confidence for local people. Why should they live in the shadow of this proposal? I was very heartened to hear the Premier’s comments that he may be considering legislation along the same lines used in the Swan Valley. I urge the Premier to draft this legislation as a matter of urgency so that the mining sharks that are circling around Margaret River will leave that place alone and leave that region as the beautiful tourist destination that it is. I believe that the Premier will look back and see this as a defining moment. I urge him to step up to the plate and stand up for the people in the South West.

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