Port city tells premier to push off!

01. 32NEWSFremantle city council and the Fremantle Society have joined forces to fight Colin Barnett’s plan to merge the port city with Melville.

The Fremantle Forever action group wasted no time donning war paint with its first meeting held at Kulcha on August 8, just days after the premier announced his forced amalgamation plans.

Town hall meetings, rallies and a blitzkrieg of posters, flyers, petitions and bumper stickers are planned.

Former Wanneroo CEO Charles Johnson has been contracted to write the council’s submission to the government that will oppose the merger and argue instead for a more modest amalgamation of Fremantle and East Fremantle, with an expansion to North Lake Road.

“In other words we need smart boundary reform for a strengthened Fremantle centre, not this illogical sprawl east that leaves the Fremantle CBD further isolated from its natural community of interest,” mayor Brad Pettitt says.

“It’s time for the Fremantle community to make its voice heard but not by saying ‘no’ to all boundary reforms but instead arguing for smart new boundaries that properly reflect the wider community of Fremantle.”

He scoffs at the Herald’s claim in its front page editorial column last week that he and his council have shown poor leadership and failed to act.

“We met with the minister, we did the G20 report which is about resisting those changes and that was in March,” he says.

“I met with the minister only three weeks again to make our case clear forward our case, that’s all we could do.

“We were trying to engage East Fremantle but they didn’t want to talk about it until they saw the report.”

Fremantle Society boss Henty Farrar, a former councillor, says Fremantle’s community will disintegrate if forced to merge with Melville.

“We are a community organisation and I like what Brendon Grylls has done in the country—he has acknowledged the significance of local government to the integrity of to community.

“You can’t have community out in those places without local government as it is central to sustaining community. That’s the same in particular areas like Fremantle.”

Deputy mayor Josh Wilson reckons the premier doesn’t have the steel to sustain a brawl with the community.

“I think we will win because there is a local government insurgency that is emerging in pockets around the metro area.

“We will part of a metro-wide local government insurgency and the state government members will realise they have sleep-walked down a path, at the end of which is a cliff for them as well as all of us.

“A damaging cliff, most importantly for the the community but for them.”

Fremantle Labor MP Simone McGurk says it’s “nonsensical” for North Fremantle to be sliced off into the western suburbs.

“The people of Fremantle are appalled that Mr Barnett’s decision could take away their identity and we will continue to fight against the current plan,” she says.

“It sucks,” Hilton’s Mary Barton told the Herald when asked her thoughts on the merger plan. “Have nothing to do with Melville, it’s too big already. Bugger them.”

East Street’s Lisa Barnes says to be part of a council that stretches from the sea to beyond the freeway is “stupid”.

“It will force the opinions of those residents in the wealthier suburbs down Fremantle’s throat,” she says. “I think a more sensible option would be to have suburbs that are more aligned to Fremantle.”

Mike Kenny says Fremantle has a unique character: “We are a world-wide known tourist destination and have a very established old historical city, that will be swallowed up and dissipated in a blander, larger council. “It will become blandville.”


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