Letters 8.9.18

Creative leadership, please
WHILE Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt may welcome the idea of retaining the city as a freight port, many want a different future.
Continuing the container-truck congestion, road safety hazards, carcinogenic pollution and transportation of dangerous chemicals through our streets is a bleak and unimaginative vision.
Many of us made our voices heard before the last state government election: Move the containers to Kwinana, divert the trucks off metropolitan roads and redevelop the harbour to become the sophisticated centre of civic activity, recreation, entertainment and tourism.
We need imaginative leadership that invigorates Fremantle, unleashes the economic potential of Kwinana as a prime industrial hub, and provides our state with a modern, internationally competitive freight port.
Sue Booth
East Fremantle

One-sided
REGARDING the media reporting on the rioting and damage done to the Yongah Hill Detention Centre.
Australian Border Force are keen to tell us about the damage to the centre, how violence and aggression will not be tolerated and any criminal offences will be referred to the police.
Yet more refugee-bashing from the government – no surprises there.
What we are not hearing from Border Force is that the majority of the refugees held at the detention centre are suffering severe mental health issues.
Many are suffering from post-traumatic stress before they get to Australia and then are made to suffer further at the hands of the Australian government which holds them in indefinite attention with little hope for the future.
It’s useful to note that cruel indefinite detention of refugees and asylum seekers is not confined to Manus and Nauru and is happening less than 100km from Perth.
Before we condemn the refugees at Yongah Hill, take a moment to think about the other side of the story that the government never tells us.
The story of severely physically and psychologically damaged people, forced to flee their own country, who are just seeking a normal life for their family and themselves.
It doesn’t seem a lot to ask for, does it?
Pamela Leeson
Hulbert street, South Fremantle

New approach?
IT will be interesting to see what the new government can come up with to have a more humane approach to the people on Nauru and Manus.
Perhaps we have to ask immigration minister Peter Dutton the meaning of ‘humane’? It seems that a new minister for immigration may have a different slant on the treatment of children who are suffering from the lethargy of ‘resignation syndrome’ on Nauru.
The new prime minister Scott Morrison presents himself as a family man with commitment to a Pentecostal church that foregrounds care for children.
Can we have some of that attention directed to Nauruian children who have are suffering badly please?
Bev Hollyock
Blinco Street, Fremantle

So what’s plan B for Fremantle?
IN response to Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt’s Thinking AllowedDon’t sink the plan’ in last week’s Herald.
We have some questions for council, Fremantle Port and most importantly the community to consider.
Can Fremantle provide some of the evidence on which they based their decision that the city could not survive if container handling was to be moved out of the city?
Fremantle port is not internationally competitive.
Only the proposed Kwinana port has the potential to achieve that, so Fremantle may lose out anyway.
How will dangerous goods be removed from the cargo components transported in and out of Fremantle, which put residents at risk and already limits the opportunities for development?
Look at the port’s restrictions on buffer area development which extends almost to Bicton.
What is Fremantle’s Plan B when it is shown that container handling is not viable in the two ports, or that the level of freight traffic, noise, pollution and congestion will rise above acceptable levels?
Western Harbours Alliance welcomes more freight on rail, but asks how is Fremantle going to handle the increase of heavy rail to 30 per cent from the current 17 through the historic West End.
The Alliance believes that moving the containers to Kwinana will not kill Fremantle as a port, but will open up opportunities for our lively city to become even more dynamic in the future.
Look at other ports around the world with hugely successful developments including Barangeroo in Sydney.
It is time to really explore all these opportunities.
There are plenty of smart people in Fremantle to help plan this transition.
Kim Dravnieks
Chairperson, Western Harbours Alliance

What a difference a smile makes
AS another letter writer pointed out recently, many of us in Melville heaved a great sigh of relief when Shayne Silcox, former council CEO, finally departed.
However, his ghost appears to continue to haunt us.
First we had his self-indulgent “Cheerless farewell” (Herald, August 11, 2018) and last week the Herald reported that Dr Silcox was the catalyst for a study on stress experienced by local government CEOs (“Silcox sparks a study”, September 1, 2018).
Dr Silcox continues bemoaning the extreme stress he experienced in his role in recent times.
He continues to complain about how rudely he was treated by the “vocal minority”.
But he fails to acknowledge that real leadership is based on being able to work with ratepayers.
In his leaving speech Dr Silcox said; “If you treat people properly, recognise their achievements and respect them, they will repay you threefold with their loyalty.
“In fact the true measure of a person is how you treat someone who can do nothing for you.”
It is unfortunate that Dr Silcox didn’t appear to have been following his own wise words during some of the city’s more contentious issues.
The most recent special electors’ meeting demonstrated the difference management can make.
With neither Dr Silcox nor Melville mayor Russell Aubrey imposing their usual stamp on this meeting, it was a far friendlier and productive meeting.
The stage was arranged in a sensible fashion where the speakers could face the audience, council senior management and councillors.
The attitude of the management team was friendlier to the public.
Of course there remains issues people have been hugely concerned about in recent years, like a lack of proper planning and adherence to agreed height restrictions at Canning Bridge precinct, closure of the two bowling clubs and the ill-conceived wave park and loss of community facilities and amenity.
We hope that some decisions will urgently be reversed and it appears there are still some councillors who will have to be replaced at the next local government elections, but the community remains hopeful that progress is being made.
Louis de Villiers
Portree Way, Ardross

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