Council help to pay Roe protestors’ fines

FREMANTLE council will spend up to $5000 co-hosting fundraising concerts to help pay the legal bills of Roe 8 protestors who’ve been arrested.

The motion was tabled last week by Cr Rachel Pemberton, a spokesperson for Wetlands Defenders, who was arrested at the Roe 8 site this week for pushing down a fence and running into a prohibited area.

Asked before the motion was passed if she would use the legal fund if arrested, triggering a possible conflict of interest, she’d replied: “We’re talking about a hypothetical situation there.

“I’m very careful not to get arrested.”

• Cr Pemberton and other Roe protestors proudly display their charges after being released on bail. Photo supplied

• Cr Pemberton and other Roe protestors proudly display their charges after being released on bail. Photo supplied

Court costs

But following this week’s arrest, Cr Pemberton says she won’t be dipping into the fund to cover her estimated $100 court costs because of the city’s involvement in co-hosting the event.

Although Roe 8 falls within Cockburn council’s boundaries, Cr Pemberton says a lot of the people who’ve been arrested are from Fremantle, and they’re trying to prevent a road that’s planned to burrow underneath White Gum Valley.

“It’s no different from other events we’ve held, like the refugee welcome fiesta, and we’ve also provided the town hall free of charge for Rethink the Link events.”

Cr Pemberton says she is likely to be hit with a $300 good-behaviour bond, which is only payable if the bond is broken.

Cr Sam Wainwright, arrested at the Roe 8 site last month and charged with trespassing, left the chamber for the vote on the fund-raising events.

The $5000 council contribution will cover staging, power and PAs and will be drawn from the city’s budget for undertaking PFL assessments.

The city would also provide in-kind support, including waiving hire fees for the town hall hire and promotion.

Local government minister Paul Miles says councils are autonomous bodies but “they also have a duty to ensure they always act in the interests of all of their ratepayers, particularly on how they spend public funds”.

Both concerts will be organised by the Families for the Wetlands, Fremantle Fibonacci Centre and Red Tent Events, with the support of the Hamilton Hill Community Group, and are scheduled to be held by March.

On January 2 organisers held a similar event at Manning Park in Hamilton Hill, with the assistance of Cockburn council, which was attended by around 2500 people.

The planned community concerts in Fremantle would include information stalls, food vans and children’s play activities, and would be alcohol and smoke free.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

2 responses to “Council help to pay Roe protestors’ fines

  1. It’s a shame that the Council didn’t support a well established Community Theatre group (Harbour Theatre), who lost their Fremantle home a few years ago after being part of the Freo entertainment scene for over 50 years. Community Theatre provides companionship, mentoring and a great venue for building confidence, a place to belong and a place to grow. Despite many pleas for help, we ended up having to move out of Fremantle to find premises and our old home ( which was demolished to make way for a hotel) still stands as a barren empty eyesore after 2 years.
    We obviously went about things in the wrong way.
    Please note this is my personal opinion and doesn’t represent an official position of Harbour Theatre Inc.

  2. Local governments are becoming more and more autocratic without due consideration for the rate payers they are employed or have volunteered to serve. Councillors need to be cautious of the changing political attitude of their constituents, good examples of this is the election of Trump, Brexit etc. Cities appear to be taking on a higher level of risk management at the expense of their rate payers with poor decisions by their employees using the power of the City without due regard for what would be something the majority would call ‘common sense’. Minority rules as they say. Why are local governments diverting the Cities rate payed or tax payed employees away from the normal day to day task they should be completing to involve themselves in Roe 8 and what I heard a representative of a local government state on the verge issue was clearly misleading on the reason the City was going on the front foot with enforcement.

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