AUSTRALIA DAY reached a new level of irony when Fremantle council awarded a premier’s active citizenship gong to Rethink the Link, a community group vehemently opposed to the premier’s Perth Freight Link.
Rethink The Link was presented with the award—which included Colin Barnett’s signature—by Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt, a long-term critic of the WA government’s plan to build a trucking super-highway from Stock Road to Stirling Bridge.
“Listen, nominations came from the public and we chose who we thought had been the most active and dedicated in the community,” Dr Pettitt said, all innocent-faced.
“It has nothing to do with the city’s, or my own views, on the Perth Freight Link—it was apolitical.”
Rethink the Link member Kim Dravnieks says there was “huge hilarity” when they discovered they had been nominated.
“It was very amusing and ironic,” she laughs.
“But on a serious note, it is great recognition of the huge effort the community has put in over the last year.”
The Herald asked the premier’s office if Mr Barnett was comfortable with his signature being on an award presented to a group opposed to his flagship project.
“These awards are overseen and administered by Australia Day WA and any comments regarding the process of determining award recipients should be directed to this organisation,” government media manager Keryn McKinnon replied.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK