Letters 11.7.20


I READ Tom Vosmer’s article in June 20 issue of The Herald with great interest as he asks the question – What has changed for the refugees and asylum seekers since last World Refugee Day? And it seemed to me the answer is – nothing; in fact things are worse for them!

The issue that has appalled me recently is the legislation that the government has in the Senate at the moment defining that mobile phones, SIM cards, and internet enabling devices can be taken from refugees if the Minister is satisfied that they pose a risk to safety and security.

Mobile phones provide detainees with a life line to sanity.

It is hard to imagine how Behrouz Bochani (a Iranian-Kurdish refugee) could have managed to get his book No Friend But the Mountains to 

a publisher. It was not written on paper or a computer, but thumbed on a phone and smuggled out of Manus in the form of thousands of text messages to a translator. It has won the Victorian Prize for Literature.

Its is also hard to imagine why Minister Dutton wants to torment these asylum seeker’s lives even more by having a law to justify the banning of these devices. 

I can’t understand it. Can you reader?

Bev Hollyock Blinco St,

All aboard

WITH the WA and federal governments allocating funds for the redevelopment of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge, now is an opportune time to explore the construction of a passenger train station on the southern bank of the river along Beach Street to serve residents of Fremantle, North Bank, East Fremantle and the surrounding suburbs.  

Situated five minutes’ walk from nearby residential developments at Quarry Street, Woolstores and Northbank, 10 minutes’ walk from shopping and cafe strips George Street and Queen Victoria Street, and 15 minutes’ walk from Richmond Quarter, the new station, let’s call it Beach Street Station, would provide a meaningful transport option for thousands of existing residents and visitors to this thriving area of Fremantle.

Since the closure of the old North Fremantle station (800 metres south of where it is now) in 1990, many residents in East Fremantle and surrounding suburbs have utilised park-and-ride facilities at North Fremantle train station which, unfortunately, has contributed to the worsening peak-hour congestion on Canning Highway and Queen Victoria Street. 

A Beach Street Station serviced by adequate bicycle paths and provisions for park-and-ride would not only reduce the number of cars heading across the river to North Fremantle at peak times but also plug the hole created three decades ago with the closure of the old North Fremantle station when many local residents found themselves no longer within practical walking distance to the current station at North Fremantle or Fremantle Station.  

In the same way the current station at North Fremantle was built with future high-density residential developments at Leighton Beach in mind, so to would a Beach Street Station cater to similar sized developments that now exist at Richmond Quarter, Quarry Street, Beach Street, North Bank, proposed residential developments at the site of the old George hotel on George Street, the rise of George and Queen Victoria Streets as shopping and dining destinations, and the development of the new Fremantle Traffic bridge.  

As a long-time resident of East Fremantle, I see the construction of a Beach Street Station as part of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide forward-looking passenger rail infrastructure that would plug an existing gap in services for local residents, increase connectivity to Cantonment Hill, Victoria Quay, North Fremantle and East Fremantle, and play an integral role in the new gateway for the city of Fremantle. 

Connor Macdonald, 
East Fremantle

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