Butting out bad behaviour

SMOKING and vaping would be banned from Walyalup Koort and the High Street Mall under Fremantle council’s latest initiative to try and stamp out anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton put forward a proposed local law banning having a puff in the city’s heart at the council’s recent finance, policy and legislation committee.

Cr Pemberton told the Herald the aim was to give the council’s safety officers a “tool” to deal with problem behaviour, as they’re currently hamstrung by the law.

“I don’t want them taking people down for smoking and petty stuff like that, but they don’t actually have the legal right to move people on in general,” she said.

“If they’re street drinking, they need to call the police because they don’t have the powers to do anything about that.

“It’s about creating a clean, healthy environment for people to be in, but also it gives our staff a tool and it discourages people who want to sit around and smoke from doing it in those areas.

“Hopefully they get the message eventually, ‘hey, go and hang out somewhere else if you want to sit around and smoke and do all that’.

“I acknowledge it just moves the problem elsewhere… but at least we would have a couple of the premier areas of Freo, where we’ve just invested a lot of money in making Walyalup Koort, as a destination for families, and just keeping it feeling safe and welcoming.”

No smoking

Cr Pemberton said no smoking signs were becoming more prevalent around the City of Perth, Subiaco and Leederville, and Fremantle was a bit behind the ball.

Staff first have to draft up the proposed law, which then has to be advertised for public comment, and Cr Pemberton is keen to see the response because it could raise the prospect of the ban being widened.

“I was thinking ‘should it be on the Cappuccino Strip’ … well, with the nightclubs there, that’s probably a stupid idea.

“The beaches are other location where this sometimes gets talked about.

“This is a conversation starter, really.”

The proposal wasn’t universally supported by the committee, with Crs Geoff Graham and Marija Vujcic concerned it was going too far.

“We appear to be picking on the poor old, hard-done-bys again,” Cr Graham said.

Cr Vujcic said smoking wasn’t a crime and the city needed better strategies and not quick-fix solutions.

But Cr Pemberton said she’s done her time volunteering and working in the homeless sector and isn’t being draconian.

“I’m not about targeting people, and I’m not about making disadvantaged people’s lives harder or worse.

“It’s about targeting bad behaviour. We’re not going to be penalising people and chasing them down going ‘don’t smoke here’; if you’re doing it away from kids, and away from the playground, and you’re not causing any drama, then nobody’s probably even going go notice.”


One response to “Butting out bad behaviour

  1. Cr Rachel Pemberton’s “public health leadership” is deeply concerning.
    There are quite a few concerning things about her proposal.
    The TRUTH is she has put it forward under the guise that she cares about public health and the effects of second hand smoke for non smokers, however, the reality and truth behind what has been put forward is her disdain for what she terms antisocial behaviour.
    Let’s be clear here so it is understood and there are no reading between the lines.
    This is nothing but a stunt to think making this decision can eradicate antisocial behaviour.
    What Cr Pemberton fails to realise is that a majority of the public see right through her ploy.
    You need to get with the times. The only thing you are leading here is hatred.
    You are singling out a marginalised group of people and appallingly using your position to do so.
    The Fremantle City Council removed its seating in High Street and removed public toilets; now you want to ban smoking in High Street mall and the Walyalup Centre.
    Those are targeted areas. If this was really about public health then you would be considering banning smoking across the whole of Fremantle and not just selected areas which happen to be frequented not only by the general public but those that you consider displaying antisocial behaviour.
    Then you are taking it a step further by proposing that you limit business hours by business owners that sell vapes, vaping equipment and tobacco.
    What you are actually providing is not leadership, it is a form of dictatorship and you are using your role as a councillor to facilitate this misguided and manipulative proposal.
    This is not leadership, and there is nothing to be proud of here. I for one don’t support your agenda here.
    Your agenda again is not about your concern for public health; your portfolio clearly demonstrates you consistently pushing the envelope in various ways and methods about antisocial behaviour in Fremantle.
    I think you need to do some honest reflection about your true intentions here; you may think they are being hidden but in reality is very clear for all to see.
    If this moves ahead, it is going to do absolutely nothing to fix what you see to be a problem.
    This manipulative solution and proposal will cause specific businesses to lose revenue and affect their livelihood, it’s not going to curb antisocial behaviour and the public are not going to view you in a better light.
    You are doing yourself a great disservice and doing the small city of Freo that you claim to love a great disservice as well.
    Let’s be blunt; initiatives like these are driven by a hatred for a marginalised community.
    If honesty and truth can ever be a thing in local city council, I’ve just said it.
    I think it’s time for you to retire and reconsider your thoughts and beliefs around leadership.
    This is not the way local council needs to be viewing homelessness nor tackling homelessness.
    Most of those you say are antisocial are homeless and but for a few troublemakers who the community try to do something about, most are just trying to live their lives.
    Strongly rethink your crass agendas here Cr Pemberton.

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