Letters 17.8.13

14. 32LETTERSNo decline
I DID not decline a debate proposed by the Socialist Alliance (Herald, August 10, 2013), though I did question whether such a debate would make a meaningful contribution to the understanding of the issue, especially when there are already a number of general debates and forums in this election season.  I would also point out that I have expressed my view on the issue at length in the Herald recently.
Melissa Parke
Federal Labor MP for Fremantle

More than Freo to thex universe
THE Herald continues its Fremantle-centric view of the merger of Melville and the two Fremantle councils.
A balanced perspective could investigate fears of a Fremantle takeover with Myer to leave Booragoon; many buildings declared heritage; preservation orders preventing re-development; numerous houses deemed unfit for habitation and fenced off, awaiting someone else’s money, and the shopping centres of Riseley and Ardross Streets and North Lake Road to become empty shells with faded “for lease” signs.
Julian Vearncombe
The Ed says: Ouch!

Heap it on
FIDDLING with my tiny packet of sugar, I was contemplating yet another loss of control! It seems like no-one wants “the punter” to have the control any more.
“No, you can’t have a heaped teaspoonful, you will have the regulation amount!” Damn it, I want my teaspoon heaped! Seems churlish to open two little packets for the privilege though. Besides, they are very fiddly—a nightmare for those with disabilities (ie, me) and I’m reliably informed, the elderly.
If I had any money (which I don’t), I’d open the “Bowl’n’Spoon” Café, with (lidded) sugar bowls, and teaspoons. Control to the (coffee) punter, I say!
Mark Randell
Mouat St, Fremantle

A crappy choice
I RECEIVED a letter from Dennis Jensen’s office during the week, trying to drum up votes for the Liberal party. I found it deeply offensive that he assumes the general public is outraged by refugees coming to our shores in boats.
I want to stand up and be counted as one of the millions of people in Australia who are sympathetic to people displaced by war, who don’t believe the fear-mongering by political parties designed to get votes, who desire a humanitarian policy to deal with refugees—however they arrive here.
What a crappy choice we have in the upcoming election—two major parties with such poor policies.
Mary-Ann Oliver
Corbett Way, Booragoon

Kissable Kwinana
COCKBURN deputy mayor Kevin Allen (Herald, August 2, 2013) expressed some very negative comments about the state’s premier industrial area, saying “the City (of Cockburn) will once again be synonymous with industrial stench” when commenting about the proposed amalgamation between the cities of Kwinana and Cockburn.
These comments are very disappointing. Kwinana industry makes a huge contribution to the local and WA economy and has made enormous strides over the past two decades in addressing environmental impacts. Operating in a sustainable way, with close attention to matters such as minimising emissions and complying with environmental conditions and standards, is a priority for Kwinana Industries Council member organisations.
Given the importance of the Kwinana industrial area in terms of jobs and overall economic contribution, and taking into account the vast improvements which have occurred in environmental management, we are very concerned about any such negative perceptions being expressed. It is critical councils develop an appropriate balance between housing developments and facilitating businesses that can employ people.
This is becoming especially important with the heat going out of the mining boom. All levels of government, including councils, should be doing everything in their power to help industry, not unjustly criticise it.
Chris Oughton
Director, Kwinana Industries Council

Just leave Freo alone
I KNOW Western Australians are meant to be parochial but really we are a pretty diverse bunch. Freo’s identity is way different to Melville. Let’s keep the local identity alive and vibrant. I would rather merge the states and leave the councils alone.
Pete Spencer
Wray Ave, Fremantle

Missing in Direct Action
DENNIS JENSEN from Tangney: Missing in Direct Action.
A full house at the climate forum at UWA on 5 August, chaired by esteemed Professor Fiona Stanley, demonstrates the level of public concern about climate change.
Scott Ludlam and Alannah MacTiernan debated their parties’ climate change policies but the Liberal MP for Tangney, Dennis Jensen, billed on the flyer, didn’t show, nor did he send a representative.
Perhaps Dr Jensen felt the audience would be unsympathetic and he wouldn’t be heard. Nonetheless, Herald readers in Jensen’s seat like me, who attended the climate forum to hear about the Coalition’s direct action plan, were disappointed by his absence.
I would welcome a similar debate in either the City of Melville or Fremantle, so Dr Jensen avail us of our democratic right to hear your policy.
Sandra Cotton
Clydesdale St, Alfred Cove

A lot of drivel
I CAN’T believe in reading the 10 August 2013 Herald there is another meeting regarding containers on trucks and the dangers of diesel particles and fumes, etc.
Where has everyone been for the past 12 years?
We have read a lot of drivel over the years about the number of container trucks on Leach Hwy, Hampton and now Stock Roads, and the proposed Roe 8 extension to Stock Road.
Stock Road is a major container route now, with trucks hurtling along, sometimes ignoring traffic signals. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
I, too, wish for the existing environment to be protected. When we were pushing for the now defunct Fremantle eastern bypass, it was made clear that wetlands have been protected in similar road construction in the eastern states.
We heard scare-mongering that, “by building more roads, you will have more traffic”.
What about spreading the load and getting heavy trucks off our suburban roads and highways?
To all the anti-FEB protesters, you’ve got what you wanted, resulting in heavy road use and congestion in our suburbs.
It was the Tagliaferri council of 2003 that deleted the FEB road reserve (TPS3). This was followed by the Gallop Labor government which deleted the Metropolitan Road Scheme (MRS). These are the ones to blame for what we have today. The dangers of diesel fumes and heavy trucks mixing with cars were known then, but these health and safety aspects were ignored.
The original Fremantle Ports container projection was one million, to be off-loaded into Fremantle around 2015.
The (maximum) of 30 per cent on rail (5700 containers a week) is a pipe dream. So were their double-stacked container trains.
This leaves  70 per cent on the road: It works out to 13,460 containers a week still travelling down our highways.
Can these current highways cope with this massive load? I think not.
We hear a lot about “Road to Rail”. You’re about 12 years too late. Where were you when we needed you back in 2001-2003?
Whether you like it or not, containers on trucks are not going to go away. We now see more and more 40-foot units being transported by truck every day. You have to have another road to cope. Too late, folks, the damage has been done. The horse has bolted!
Brian Lethbridge
McKenzie Rd, Samson

Merger good for business
I READ the front page of the Herald and the article on page three where residents have formed an action group to protest the state government’s council merger policy.
I did not see one argument, reasonable or otherwise, that had any substance to it. The government’s argument comes from a strong economic foundation being the achievement of economies of scale.
The cost savings are large and the economic argument is strong. We have more politicians in Australia per capita than any other country in the world. I saw no argument put by the “action group” or anyone else as to why there will be any drop in the level of services or some other type of disadvantage resulting from the mergers. The opposition to the policy just simply appears histrionic.
The merger of councils is not a right-wing policy. The greatest centralist in Australian politics was Gough Whitlam. The basic argument that I can see coming from those opposing the mergers, as best as I can understand it, seems to be some alleged loss of community simply because boundaries are extended. If there is no more to it then the state government’s policy is unassailable.
Fremantle has always been a business city. It is a business city with residents, not the other way around. I have owned a law firm in the middle of Fremantle for 20 years which has been a substantial employer.
I am far more concerned about the fact the city has been shrinking and business activity reducing over the past two decades than I am concerned with some bland unsubstantiated whinge from a few residents about some vague “loss of community”, whatever that is.
One comment was, “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”.
This is Montypythonesque stuff worthy only of “the Judean Peoples’ Front”. It is meaningless dribble. Another resident says to be part of a council that stretches from the sea to beyond the freeway is “stupid”. The arguments are then just left at that with no explanation offered nor required by the journalist.
What are they trying to say, exactly? Another resident says, “we are a worldwide known tourist destination and have a very established old historical city that will be swallowed up and dissipated in a blander, larger council”. What does that mean exactly?
The men and women who built Fremantle as the port business city were visionaries. Vision is required now. We all know what the problems are with Fremantle but few answers are ever seriously discussed.
There are empty office buildings and a dearth of policies to attract businesses to Fremantle. Merging councils may or may not do anything to lift Fremantle but the mergers policy will certainly do nothing to diminish the operation of my law firm or the enjoyment that my family has in the port city. I live in East Fremantle and I support the mergers policy.
Marcus Ahern
View Tce, East Fremantle

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