Letters 27.6.20

Heartfelt

I CAN’T ever remember reading anything so heartfelt, so thoughtful, so profound and so moving as “Feeling like an Aussie” (Thinking Allowed, Herald, June 13, 2020).

Khin Myint, you’re a gem. Thank you so much for sharing. You are Australian. We all are. I came here in the 70s. 

I had lived in the multicultural Zambia in Africa for a few years as a child, and couldn’t understand the apartheid in South Africa as a child passing through. 

I was so confused that all of a sudden I couldn’t talk to anyone irregardless of nationality. 

Hopefully we will all use our past experiences to embrace the future and become a great group of Australians.

Mairead Como
North Perth

Missing cat

THE removal of the Red Cat service seems to be a “done” deal according to the Public Transport Authority.

Now a safe alternative has to be found to the Beach Street service.  Residents with mobility issues need to get into Fremantle to do the basics such as shopping, banking etc. 

Perhaps an island can be built in Queen Victoria Street near the bus stop into town so residents can feel safer about crossing a very busy road.

Sue Loftus
Fremantle

Others stolen

I READ with sadness the story of Maria Williams, a victim of the stolen generation. 

There is however another rarely talked about “Stolen Generation”: the 130,000 plus children who were removed – “stolen” – from their parents and placed in the care of various charitable institutes where they, like Ms Williams, suffered both sexual and physical abuse and virtual slavery, told their parents had died and had no other family, resulting in many never having contact with any member of family again.

There was no difference in the abuse and heartache suffered by both groups, except the 130,000 children were English and white, and 

the compensation they were offered and received was far less than their black cousins.

While this will no doubt have the politically correct-touchy feely fools jumping up and down, isn’t this ‘racism in reverse’?

I do not expect this letter to be printed because my comments are not politically correct; it does not make them any the less true.  

Bob Loftus
Beach Street, Fremantle
The Ed says:
A little clarifier, Bob. If you’re talking British child migrants, Australia’s share was around 7000 children of the overall 130,000 sent out to various former colonies between 1920 and 1970. In terms of compensation, we had a look and it’s complex. Some white fellas took individual legal action and received more, some reparations were tied specifically to sexual abuse, each Australian state had its own scheme (WA offered money to the Stolen Generation but then immediately slashed the payment), while Britain offered its own compensation scheme. The reality is that both Indigenous and Wadjela people are still fighting for just compensation.

High noon

IT was remarkable to see Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk have a few snipes at me through her letter to the Herald (“Lost Mike?”, June 20, 2020); however as per usual, she decided to leave out some salient and important points. 

Ms McGurk’s claims that the High Street upgrades were long-slated and bi-partisan are completely false. 

The previous Liberal government inherited the terrible project from the Carpenter government and it was something we didn’t support. 

In fact, we investigated better alternatives, and quite rightly cancelled the project to pursue a tunnel as part of the Roe 9 project. 

This would be far more cost-competitive in today’s world and would have avoided the environmental damage inflicted by McGurk’s large roundabout. 

I note Ms McGurk has also become somewhat silent on the impact of the High Street upgrades on local residents. 

Whilst in opposition she demanded the government build noise walls all the way to Canning Highway; however her government is only building them to Forrest Street.

This has angered local residents, who have become totally exposed following the removal of large amounts of vegetation (“Forrest clearing,” Herald, March 21, 2020).

It is absolutely galling to be criticised by the party that created this mess. 

Simone McGurk and her colleagues should hang their heads in shame. 

This is their project and the environmental destruction is on their shoulders. 

But instead of puffing her chest and attacking me, perhaps she should target her efforts towards getting a better outcome for her local residents. 

Dr Mike Nahan MLA
Member for Riverton

Claw marks

A LOCAL wag reckons that the CAT bus is the first high profile feline victim of the City of Fremantle Cat Management Local Law 2020.

I cast aside that particular conspiracy theory (there seem to be a few in Freo) as quickly as I downed my local coffee and demolished my South Freo cinnamon scroll. 

So as the local CAT limps off the chopping block we are faced with some options. 

One option is to focus on the past and ask questions about why the Council persisted with a limited funding arrangement of a 60/40 City of Fremantle and Public Transport Authority split when it is reported that the CAT was really intended to be aimed at tourists.

Or we can focus on the extensive community consultation used to ensure ratepayers had a voice in the CAT Bus cut. Sorry. Correction. Nil. Nada. Zilch. Consultation. There corrected. 

Or we can focus on whether or not the Council’s financial situation leading into COVID-19 contributed at all to the CAT Bus chopping. Maybe? Maybe not?

Or we can now work as a community recognising that times are tough (yeah, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times) to ensure that the CAT service is retained in a form that is fit for purpose, reflective of community need, and based on a sustainable funding model.

Fit for purpose meaning that the council is clear on what the objective of the CAT service is. Is the objective to provide free transport to tourists? A service for University of Notre Dame (UNDA) students? An essential service to the community? All of the preceding?

Reflective of community need meaning that genuine community consultation occurs (this isn’t to suggest that past consultations haven’t been). Freo has an ageing population (skateparks notwithstanding) and for many locals the CAT Bus is an essential service. For others it is a means to get from their free parking on Marine Terrace into UNDA.

A sustainable funding model – clearly haven’t got one at present. 

And for too long the ratepayers have been funding a service when passenger demographics have suggested that other models should be considered. 

As the mayor states in the Herald (“CAT pause,” June 13, 2020): “The CAT bus services were set up to cater for tourists, and its popularity with students and CBD workers had been more by accident than by design”.

So it seems that the funding model was based on ratepayers paying for a service aimed at tourists – yet Tourism WA was never approached to make a contribution? 

And I guess accidents happen. That said, it does appear that a crisis is leading to some focus with our councillors voting last week to: (a) request the Minister for Tourism to seek State assistance to provide this essential service to tourists; and (b) request the Minister for Education and UNDA to work with the city to explore funding mechanisms that will enable the service to be available to their students.

Yet since the CAT’s inception in 2000 we have had the same funding model – suddenly all these actions per the Council decision will be taken in an attempt (panic?) to develop a sustainable funding model? 

And  is it passing strange that the councillors have committed in writing in last weeks’ decision that the CAT is an “essential service to tourists” – yet no mention of it being an essential service for the community?

Hmm.

Sean Hefferon Wardie St,
South Freo

Barking up the wrong…

GAYE and I, rearing two daughters, lived at 159 Reynolds Road for 40 years on the quarter acre block with a 1940’s farmhouse and the lost cork oak you featured a fortnight ago (“No just a pop,” Herald, June 13, 2020).  

We are concerned that your readers may think we were complicit in its destruction. We were not. We are dismayed, bereft, and heartsick beyond belief at its unexpected loss. 

The Oak was majestic (see photo aobve) – and we loved it if possible even more than the rest of the – now lost – garden. 

We knew of the lack of legal protection in WA but, having seen off the developers, accepted in good faith the buyer’s offer to purchase, given their declared intent to retain the house and the oak.

The principal buyer told us on multiple occasions that they intended to keep the house and the cork. It made sense. The cork was located at the south-east corner of the block, and gave no impediment to light, future construction, access, or new plantings.

A month later the cork was destroyed. 

One small consolation is that having recognised this disdain for vegetation in our community we have, in the past three years, propagated and distributed across rural WA and NSW around 350 acorns and germinated saplings, produced by this tree.

As your source David said, the cork is now gone despite its history and potential (cork oaks can live for several hundred years) and nothing can be done. In part, due to WA’s parliament and local governments continually refusing to protect living vegetation on private urban land.

This has to change. We are better than this.

Gaye and I are not only bereft, devastated and heartsick at the loss and destruction of the cork, but also recognise that this happens in WA urban areas on a daily basis.

We would not have sold to these buyers if we had known their ultimate intentions, but have now relocated to a region – and property – where the disdain of governments, developers and individuals concerning non-human life forms are less likely, in our lifetimes – and perhaps of the Cork’s descendents – to involve destruction such as this.

Vale, the cork oak, you rare and lovely creature.

Roger Plant
lately of Mount Pleasant

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