Letters 6.6.20

A vet, not virologist
AT the beginning of May the Herald featured Jason Chatfield’s ‘graphic’ story in which he told us to take Covid-19 very seriously, offering his personal experience as proof.
At the other end of May we have the vet, Herbert Rebhan telling us that Covid-19 isn’t a problem and we should happily consign endless numbers of people to suffer and die on the altar of his “herd immunity”.
With an attitude like that, the sheep he’s paid to accompany across vast oceans should feel nervous.
He’s a vet, not a virologist, and he not be taken seriously on the topic of Covid-19.
Barry Healy
Beazley Way, White Gum Valley
The Ed says: Despite his brusqueness, Dr Rebhan does pose an extremely important question for Western Australia: What is the exit strategy? We can’t shut ourselves off from the rest of the world permanently, and with a safe vaccine at least 18 months away (the most optimistic outlook) and perhaps unachievable, there will be difficult questions ahead about whether a measure of suffering is inevitable in order to rejoin the international community. But his dismissal of premier Mark McGowan’s very popular approach, which has “obliterated” our curve, is misguided. It has bought us time to understand the disease better and gives us the opportunity to engage with it on our terms. Brasil, Italy, the United States, Britain and Iran provide ample evidence of the needless suffering if we allow Covid-19 to simply run rampant.

Who’s asleep at the wheel?
IF a mining company let the buffer zone around its operations fall apart while exploiting the area within the buffer, conservationists would howl it down in protest.
Yet in Fremantle, the state government built a massive seawall reclaiming 27 hectares of ocean to generate commercial rent and then watched on as the Port Beach erosion rate progressively accelerated each year.
In Fremantle, the state also claims a mining royalty on the million tonnes of sea sand mined off the coast annually to feed the mining and construction industries appetite for lime products and all without putting a zack into maintaining the buffer zone that has provided a natural recreational asset for generations of Fremantle and South East metro beachgoers.
Then when it offers a $200,000 pittance in a last-minute and ill-fated limestone wall rescue attempt, local government celebrates alongside, welcoming the “generosity” and matches it dollar for dollar with ratepayers funds.
Given local and state government agencies documented the risk to the community asset and made six recommendations for sand nourishment in 2004, prior to exploiting Rous Head for reward, the rapid demise of Port Beach over the last four winter seasons is a sad chapter in Fremantle’s history.
Beach management has been asleep at the wheel.
John Vodanovic
North Fremantle

Freo’s graffiti grinches
I’M sure all Herald readers would have noticed the proliferation of graffiti in Fremantle and surrounding suburbs since the Corona lockdown commenced.
In fact on a recent walk, I counted over 130 tags within just a three block radius of my house.
The vulgarity of the graffiti aside, it is commonly acknowledged as a precursor for more rampant crime, so you would expect the police and Fremantle council would want to get on top of it quick smart…..but sadly no.
When I contacted the Fremantle police department, I was told there was only one sergeant working on it and he was not rostered on until the following week.
And when I enquired about council cleanup, I was told it considers much of it art, so has a policy of leaving it in place.
As for the non-masterpieces, it currently has no funds to remove them. Seriously?
We continue to plunge rates into a marketing committee to restore Fremantle’s image but can’t afford the graffiti remover from Bunnings?
A glossy brochure doesn’t plaster over the spray-painted ghetto Fremantle has become.
We really need to rethink our leadership.
Name and address supplied
The Ed says: The Chook heard on the grapevine this week that Fremantle council told the Fremanshed volunteers who clear the city’s streets of graffiti it can no longer afford to pay for their graffiti remover. That really is penny pinching at its worst, but thankfully the Sheddy superheroes have decided to keep working and will pay for the cleaner out of their own pocket.

What plan?
CONGRATULATIONS must go to the federal member for Fremantle, Josh Wilson for taking at least two months to come up with his latest offering in Thinking Allowed.
It was a remarkably bland, middle of the road, fence sitting public relations blurb that could of gushed out of any political party or corporate PR department as seen on recent TV advertising campaigns.
I give Josh credit for acknowledging that the Fremantle electorate is greatly impacted due to being a tourist, hospitality, artistic hub town with a University campus.
The truly remarkable thing is that Josh does not offer any solutions or policy ideas to tackle the economic devastation the Covid-19 pandemic has caused his electorate.
He gives us none of his ideas to build resilience into our community if we should face a second wave of Covid-19 cases and be forced back into isolation.
Here are a few ideas that should be palatable for any overly cautious wafer cracker Labor MP sitting in a very safe seat.
Change the rules around casual employment. All workers are entitled to sick and holiday pay on a pro rata basis, so for every 48 hours worked then one hour sick leave and four hours annual leave.
How about a government subsidy for workers who want to have pandemic wage insurance?
How about a plan to kickstart an economy, like building affordable housing for our lowest paid, under-employed or unemployed people.
What about a plan around health and testing to quickly id Covid hot spots?
We all understand that your party is not the government of the day and can not make laws but you can at least try to put some decent policy on the agenda to be debated in the public sphere or through the media.
Your silence or inability to make yourself heard has to change.
It is time our federal member for Fremantle shows us some gutsy leadership and what he actually stands for.
Pedro Schwindt Martha St,
Beaconsfield

Something not in the air
TO my big surprise there has not been any news about the big demonstration/walk in the park in Perth, WA that we attended on Saturday May 30, 2020.
A quickly growing number of residents are expressing their concerns regarding the government’s attitude towards the public. The public’s outcry of who is serving who is not discussed at all in the media.
Don’t you think that attempts to change our constitution (which is illegal), pushing through laws around mandatory vaccination, and pushing 5G is having an effect on the public?
Many residents are wondering why this is being done behind closed doors.
And why there is no open discussion about these concerns in the media, instead portraying residents as fools, idiots, dismissing their claims that their health is affected.
Instead we know all about Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner… Who are they again???
I am all for polarising these concerns now. Apparently the governments have chosen to serve big business and big pharma  instead of treating their residents as intelligent and sovereign human beings, that are capable of making informed choices.
I do not expect my letter to be posted. I know which side your media is on.
Thank goodness for having alternative media that is happy and brave enough to lift the middle finger to all that belief they are in power.
Our numbers are growing and you cannot shut us up anymore.
As said last Saturday was a demonstration of around 1000 people; two weeks prior there were only 45 people.
We’re growing quickly.
Are you willing to use violence now to shut us up?
Please bring it on, it will make our numbers grow quicker and respect for you will be lost very soon.
Diddy Schaap
Bibra Lake

Where to now?
LIKE all of Australia, Fremantle will face more inclement weather, rising sea levels, drought and flooding.
Climate change is the consequence of centuries of mismanagement, disregard for mother earth, and its resources. We cannot continue down this path.
Extreme weather events will continue to lash our coastline and erode our beaches. The days of taking a stroll along the beach, feeling the warm sand between the toes will be sadly missed.
The reality that cities around this great country of Australia, like Fremantle, will someday require immense, robust, unattractive, and imposing sea walls. It is possible those who live in low-lying areas in these cities will become heavily reliant on these walls for protection.
However, this is not a total disaster, but instead, could be considered as an excellent learning opportunity. Action must start now. Instead of complaining, help to find solutions.
Adam Hewber
Melville

Where’s the gratitude?
YOUR story “Vet Lashes Premier/Fear Over Facts”
(Herald, May 30, 2020) gave front-page headlines to Herbert Rebham, apparently an Australian vet on the sheep ship Al Kuwait which bought a cluster of cases of the Covid-19 pandemic to Fremantle.
On the day the Herald published, other reports said 38 of the 48 crew were quarantined in Perth hotels, including the vet, and one was in hospital.
Yet instead of being grateful WA was looking after them, Rebham launched a lengthy stinging attack on the state of WA and premier Mark McGowan because they were being confined. What was he thinking? These restrictions were implemented to keep the community safe from incidents like the toxic gift that arrived with the Al Kuwait.
Rebham would have been better off expressing a bit of gratitude as ports in some countries won’t even allow infected ships to dock, let alone extend high-quality health care, hotels, and other assistance, for crew safety and ours.
His self-interest comments certainly didn’t help international relations or the status of sheep ships.
Chris Lewis
South Fremantle

A spark of compassion
A BIG “thank you” to the Freo community.
My husband, Andrew, sadly suddenly passed away at home on May 15, 2020.
I want to say a heartfelt thank you for all the support I have received from my local community.
Andrew was the local sparky and known for his quirky funny nature just as much as his electrical skills.
At the time of his death we were in the process of selling our home and buying another from Mark Brophy Agency.
Both sales are now cancelled and I want to pass on my thanks and appreciation to Brad the agent who has been so understanding and supportive of my situation even giving me flowers and offered to help me with my shopping!
Thank you to my neighbours, and our customers for all the beautiful flowers and cards that I continue to receive.
The empathy you have all shown me has given me the strength to get through this and feel proud to call South Freo my home.
Liza Carroll
Chester St, South Fremantle

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