Fremantle Bias Where We Need Balance

Bias_Pio-Clementino_Inv279 (1)

Do I blindly accept the governments Perth Freight Link (PFL) old options, of course not.

The real question on the various issues before Fremantle is, do we get a balanced source or feed of information? Sadly Fremantle council is deeply entrenched in partly politics, labor, greens and even the little known socialistic something, whatever they call them. To give us all the pros and cons of the various issues, as it doesn’t suit their political agendas.

Personally I can see some major faults with the government’s old PFL plans but currently we don’t actually know what is planned for the PFL.

As the current Transport Minister has asked for 3 new proposals from 3 different consortiums with some that do not even build roads!

Personally I find it hard to protest something, I don’t even have the facts on, that’s not saying the current government will not drive some 1/2 cocked idea. The issue before us, can we make an intellectual objection before we 1st have facts on what we are objecting to.

I have major issue with council’s current fear mongering over the PFL? What’s that you ask, well 1st of all it’s not much to with trucks. It’s mostly to do with cars. Cars are the major part of the PFL issue if anyone has bothered to check the real facts/data, its cars that are the majority of traffic clogging the road systems we are discussing.

Before I forget the so called PFL will not make more trucks carrying containers, that’s just pure bullshit. What makes more containers in a port, is people buying things that need to be imported. This is one of Fremantle’s council major problems, fact or fiction, all that drives the ports increase in containers is demand for offshore or imported products. If people bought more Australian made or produced products we would need to import less. Hence less containers, a new road will not make more trucks it will only depend on what is imported into the country.

The council supports a group like Aldi coming to Fremantle, guess what, they import huge amounts of product from overseas, which means more containers, more trucks, etc. Try supporting local business and lessen the demand for imported goods, less containers, less trucks.

So getting back to the cars, if someone is against expanding or increasing the road network for cars, personally I respect that point of view but only to a point. If that person uses a car but objects to new car drivers adding to the network, that’s a double standard. You can’t expect to use a car yourself and then expect everyone to use something else? Just recently I went to the Stock Rd and Winterfold Rd protest, not surprisingly to see cars parked everywhere, imagine going to a protest to complain about the road network you just drove on to get to the protest, does no one find that hypocritical? It’s a little like seeing a protest or something similar at Freo in the evening and seeing all the street parking full on a Tuesday night, if you are going to demand people divest money from fossil fuels stop buying petrol or diesel yourself 1st.

One of the real problems is,  the council is actively promoting fear or hate mongering with little facts,  one day they are driving the PFL thru East Fremantle, the next thru Hilton or Hamilton Hill, it can’t be both or all 3 so which is it? Well, what they are hoping is for is to trigger all the nimby attitudes to protest everything with little or no facts, fear is what they hope to drive, is this what’s best for Freo or is it their own personal political futures.

If people expect to drive cars u cannot expect to double the population over 50 years and not increase the road network? So if u drive a car and protest the increase of the road network like 80% of our council who drive cars, you are just another hypocrite, like them. Our council is quite good at “Do as I say, not do as I do”.

Our council should be working for the best possible outcome for Freo not their own personal political benefit.

If this road is going to go ahead as most of the councillors seem to believe it will from what u hear at council meetings, wouldn’t it be better to try and be part of a plan and ensure that Fremantle gets the best possible outcome. Instead of behaving like a spoilt child, stamping their feet and screaming no no no no no.

There must be a better way to do the Link than knocking down people’s homes along High St and Leach Hwy. If the tunnel option is taken that sort of cancels the whole fear campaign the council is driving on that front.

So far, apart from putting everything on the rail which does not seem to be possible, or shifting the port to Kwinana, i.e. just pushing the problem to some else’s back yard. I have not heard any solutions on what happens if the PFL was cancelled. The demand for imported stuff is not going away, the trucks that carry the containers even if rail is doubled will not lessen as the port continues to increase volume. The # of cars will continue to increase. The congestion will continue to worsen. The councils increasing the density of our suburbs which will bring more cars and congestion. Their fables of rail links running everywhere just aren’t going to happen. They are blindly adding density with no ability to add the needed ingredients to make the density sustainable or workable. We are more than likely to just get extra people and cars in our suburbs with no added infrastructure, lets be honest the Fremantle councils record on getting deliverables from any colour of state government is less than poor.

So what is the solution?

What is the impact on Fremantle if we increase the rail through town? Noise, vibration, pollution, etc.

What safety issues would it cause at all the level crossings through Fremantle, this could happen 30 to 100 times a day depending on which scenario is used, can u imagine how Fremantle would function with a 100 trains and day going through the city.

  • Fremantle cut roads by train
    • Phillimore
    • High St access for round house
    • Bathers beach pedestrian crossing
    • Warden Lance
    • Mews Rd
    • Capo D’Orlando Drive
    • Intersection at Scott St
    • Ocean Rd
    • Rollinson Rd

Imagine going to South Beach with a 100 trains a day going past, how many people and pets will end up getting injured or killed at the multiple crossings, along this track, not mention the noise, vibration and smell. I don’t imagine that would be great for cockburns new coastal community around the old power station development. It would also kill all the property prices along the coast for the new developments between South Freo and Cockburn

What impact will it have in Spearwood/Cockburn where trains would cut off at least 3 major roads with 30 to 100 trains a day going through the suburbs?

What safety issues would it have for homes in Spearwood where the train track is higher than the roofs of the house and only metres away?

Would the extra trains past the Round House have any impact with vibration?

The real problem is the whole issue is not being addressed by anyone, it’s just each camp yelling the loudest on what they are against, is anyone looking at all the pros and cons and giving a true picture of what is best for Fremantle and being honest about what impacts different scenarios would have on different parts of Fremantle.

What does Kwinana think of Fremantle kicking its problem further down south? The government doesn’t have the billions needed to build a new port down there.

Where will the increasing number of cars go to without new road infrastructure, you will frequently hear some Fremantle Councillors rattle on about the international known facts that more roads means more congestion, strange then, that governments all over the world are spending trillions on Hwys, Freeways, Motorways etc.

So before we jump onto the council’s bandwagon of screaming no, what are we saying no too and what will be the effects of doing nothing or implementing a different approach, considering we don’t have details/facts on anything yet?



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  1. Its the first analysis I have seen regarding the proposed rail link south and its consequences to the southern suburbs and those already on the coast and inner city Fremantle. Great overview in relation to the rail crossings also and the potential cost to build many unsightly walkovers. Noise, traffic stoppages and as you say, an increased possible likelihood of more accidents.

  2. freoishome says:

    The discussion needs to be about transitioning from a very poor way of transporting freight and people to better ways.

    No one who is wanting to have that discussion and is campaigning to get that going is as naïve as you make out about the current transport needs that everyone including them is having to use.

    The scare mongering examples you are using of 100 freight trains per day to Freo harbour, would equate to an extra 7000 trucks/day, that off course you don’t highlight, as that would defeat your purpose.

    At present there are 4-6 freight trains per day, and mostly far from full trains. Why are they noisy, etc, when they don’t need to be. There are modern designs for the engines and bogies, that make them highly efficient, and quiet. Far more environmentally sustainable than their equivalent number of trucks. But State Gov’t doesn’t make demands of the rail operators that it could and should do. Is that something that Matt would do? Scheduling more freight trains, eg doubling them, would make a sizeable reduction in the number of HGVs and their highly polluting engines in our suburbs, which has to be a benefit. Most significantly it would require a single dollar of extra rail network capital investment, unlike the billions needs for roads lanes.

    Road construction for HGVs is enormously more demanding than for cars, and hence the cost/km.

    The constant message from all the groups you complain about who are campaigning for a better , less polluted future for their and your grandchildren, includes better design for public transport. That doesn’t mean no private car use. The electrification of the passenger rail has totally changed the transport of thousands of commuters, but has been very Perth centric. We have large areas of employment like the hospitals, Universities, Osborne Park and Myaree light industrial areas all poorly served by rail, can they be better served by other means, a task for our town planners and transport schedulers.

    Recreational transport is however, much more diversified and random, and hence the likelihood of that ever being car free is far lower.

    The reduction in car use needs to be seen in the overall picture not itemising each trip, such as a rally to talk about ideas that maybe others disagree with.


    • Mark says:

      Paul the numbers of trains I just pulled off the CUSP report. I didn’t make it up
      Personally I don’t think one mode or the other will be the solution, it will be a mix of both.
      That said the car issue as you have correctly noted is growing and not likely to stop growing that issue needs to be addressed.
      The CUSP report was an interesting read but hardly a solution for our current issue as they just ignored cars completely.
      The fact remains no one is getting all the facts on all the issues, each party is just pushing their own agendas.
      My worry is no one is looking at the all the challenges and the solutions that are needed to fix numerous challenges before us but are just looking to drive their own political agendas at the greater community cost.

    • Suzanne says:

      Paul you are correct. Surely modern engineering should be able to halt the screeching sound of the freight trains already rumbling past the Round House, but it doesn’t.

      For in excess of 5+ years, The Dept of Transport has been attempting to solve this problem of the excruciating noise from the rolling stock.
      All along the line, office workers, restaurant diners, beach goers, The Esplanade visitors, residents, are deafened as the trains trundle by, along the picturesque route.
      The Department has to be conscientious because the screeching sound is far greater than the ‘health decibels’ permit.

      If you look at the rail you will see sprinklers which automatically sprinkle as a train approaches. There have been tests of return to wooden sleepers replacing concrete.
      The speed has been slowed to a crawl.
      This week a forrest of trees is being planted along the line as a sound buffer.
      Obviously I am unaware of the technical terms, or many other ongoing engineering tests, but be assured, none have solved the problem.

      As Mark pointed out, perhaps 100 more trains are expected. Farewell to Fremantle’s most important tourism precinct.

  3. Martin says:

    Hi Mark,

    Here is a link to the Latitude 32 site if anyone is interested:

    This projects actually requires about 18 km of new road / freeway to link the project to the end of Tonkin Hwy, and also proposes to push the road through from Roe Hwy to Stock road via the wetlands!!! – I assume so that trucks from Latitude 32 can get to the Canning Vale industrial area without travelling via the airport.

    Delivering a container by truck from Latitude 32 to O’Connor would be about 14 km, versus 7 km if direct from Freo port. Bibra Lake industrial area is about the same distance for both. In fact, delivering a container by truck to just about anywhere else in Perth or north involves a 15 km longer truck journey from Latitude 32 than direct from Freo port.

    CUSP’s Alternative #1 is a $2.3 billion rail tunnel, to bring contained by rail to Latitude 32, where most will then be loaded on trucks for a longer truck journey on more new freeways than the proposed PFL. How does this cut down on particulate emissions from trucks?

    CUSP’s alternative #2 is a cap and transition strategy. The port moves to a new location, but issues with total truck kilometres and the amount of new road construction is the same.

    Painting the alternatives as less polluting and requiring less roads is misleading at best.

    The scaremongering is not coming from Mark. CUSP introduced the 100 trains per day assumption.

    CUSP also stated that the problem caused by the PFL “problem will quickly spin out of control as the optimal capacity of the port is breached.” CUSP then ponders “Is it possible to consider the arrival, on every working day, of 5 times the number of trucks that are now passing through the Inner Harbour port operation?” There is absolutely no effort to support these statements with data or theory. The “5 times” thought bubble then gets used as a “Fact” later in the report.

    If anyone is genuinely interested in understanding the issue, there is plenty of “real analysis” online, completed over the past decade by transport and traffic planning professionals. GHD has written some “proper” reports on the matter. I am starting to wade through them as there is plenty of data out there. I would expect CUSP and the City of Fremantle would prefer it if you didn’t do your own homework!

    The GHD reports start with problems and work towards solutions – as professional transport experts would. The CUSP approach starts with the solution and tries to justify why it is the only outcome. Sounds rather politically motivated to me.

    Mark is on the money about needing a proper discussion. The PFL in its current form is a disaster for Freo, but there must be alternatives and compromises.


    • Mark says:

      Hi Martin, your quite right about the CUSP report if you dig into it I’m sure you will find more questions than answers.
      It doesn’t seem to even address the issue of cars on the road which are far greater than the truck numbers.
      It mention particulate matter from a pollution point but if anything parts of the doc would make truck miles more in some cases double handling containers increasing the pollution issue.
      Is it normal in a Document such as this to reference yourself or the party u are writing the report for, if you are telling them what they have already said, whats the point? I thought the issue would be to gather data from external sources to support your facts or conclusions?

      • Martin says:

        Yep, Mark, I spotted that one too. Is it normal for academics, when listing external References, to reference their own work…?

    • Diana Ryan says:

      I love it when Martin comments – on any blog. He’s one of the few sitting down and ploughing through everything and then providing structured responses.

  4. Its always interesting to read a more balanced view of the PFL. With all of the protests going on and the misinformation being spread, and as you say, the lack of facts actually being presented, or misrepresented, one must wonder who is whipping all these ‘locals’ into a frenzy, and why? There is definitely a Labor/Greens campaign to stop the PFL. They were marching in the rain yesterday.

    They didn’t want it 25 years ago and they expect everyone else in the Metro area to have the trucks go through their area and basically just want it moved into another electorate. Pretty selfish really, but what do you expect. Beelier wetlands? There is already a road going through it. Its now got environmental sign off, and from what was in the paper this morning, that will be built before the next state election. Roe 9 could be a little different, but it may have already been started with the contracts and funding allocated by 2017, which will mean that it wont be able to be stopped.

    You can understand people being upset that a road is going to go through their house, but as per what has been said, until the review/scope has been tendered on and position put forth, its a bit early to be jumping to conclusions. There are also cost issues in relation to the High St Link vs Tunnel.

    It’s well known that Fremantle Port is only at 50% capacity and its taken 100 years to get to that. Melissa Parke has consistently stated that it will be at 100% capacity in 6 years, but the data just isn’t there to prove that and it really is a pie in the sky figure that they have dreamed up so they don’t have to provide any development into Fremantle. She is a lazy local representative.

    Politically the whole Labor/Green argument revolves around NOT spending money in Fremantle, or putting in another rail bridge, next to the existing bridge and shoving 30% freight on Rail past the housing in the new north coogee and south beach areas as Mark has stated. There’s about $500 million of new development that’s already started to go ahead in the old Robb Jetty precinct.

    All freight on Rail from the port is subsidised currently. More rail = more subsidies = higher costs for goods. Saying that, politically the Liberals have also stated that they will try and get 30% on rail. Remember that that Labor only got it to around 14%. So they themselves couldn’t even accomplish it yet they are complaining the Liberals cannot, please. The greens are just a thought bubble in State Politics currently. There are 2 upper house greens and a members from the Shooters and Fishers Party. Which is pretty interesting. Gone are the heady days of having 4 upper house members and a lower house member and in Fremantle.

    If you factor in the rail + the new road network into the port, you will need both. Which is what is being said currently. Getting the ports productivity up to close to 100%, which for a private operator, is exactly what they will be trying to do. Will be another issue. Hence the sell off, but I think its been a condition from the Federal Government regarding other funding and also a looming deficit. Getting to the 100% capacity is another issue and tax will be paid to the Government on the profits. A private operator has a better chance of getting productivity and capacity to the ports threshold. Currently the MUA and other unions dictate the volumes of trade through the port to a certain degree and therefore its overall volumes and capacity. They are too strong when its in government control.

    The only difference between government control and private control will be the risk won’t be with the State to a loss. Its like a landlord and a tenant. They, the State, will be getting rent + taxes from the profits. Its always been a good equation and has worked for me. Ultimately the ownership is vested in the state and its the same across Australia with other States now leasing their port assets.

    Martin, as you have previously stated, the City of Fremantle shot themselves in the foot with the report coming from CUSP.

    • Martin says:

      Hi Matthew,

      It would be great to be able to tackle this issue from an a-political point of view. I know ultimately it will come down to politics, but there is a lot to be gained in avoiding it for as long as possible if we want to get a sensible fact based discussion going.

      There is too much misinformation out there already and more politics will just cloud the real issues, which is exactly what we are trying to reverse. Let’s first focus on getting the facts on the table, de-bunk the misinformation and expose those that are deliberately trying to mislead.

      Once we have a solid platform for a discussion, then we can let the inevitable political bullshit start. If we let it start now the truth will never come out.

      Road or rail freight – both are subsidised by government. One is up front, while the other is on a unit of production basis. Let’s not kid ourselves.

      Maybe the government is subsidising my rail trip to the City each day, but what would it cost in lost productivity if everyone on the Freo line had to drive to work. It would be road chaos. You can bet that the loudest whingers would be those that live on the Freo line but currently drive to the City every day anyway. Nobody can deny that the Mandurah line has been even more successful than every imagined in terms of passenger numbers. Some subsidies are worth paying!

      I’d like to hear more about the road tunnel options. I would also like to see an approach that tackles the design of the solution north of Marmion St before committing to something south of Marmion St. It would be really stupid if the north solution were to be incompatible with the south solution.

      Perhaps you could encourage your colleagues in the State Liberal Party to ensure this is properly integrated, and that they could bring it out into the open so that it can also be part of the discussion. North Freo is currently far more in need of a solution than Stock Road, but is not even on the PFL radar. A bit more openness would also make the PFL proponents a smaller target…

      Let’s keep an open mind for as long as possible.


      • Rail freight is subsidised. The money for that needs to come from somewhere or somewhere else. That is a current fact. Political or not. It needs to be factored in.

        Public transport is subsidised. Not sure about road freight. I know the truck drivers are not too happy about paying tolls on the new road considering all the other taxes, licenses and charges that they pay.

        Ultimately its a choice for a freight forwarder, not the government as to the cost of delivering a container of goods. As a merchant and importer / exporter, are my costs going to go up with the Labor plan given all the extra km’s as you state? That’s a question that isn’t being asked. Governments do have some choice, but ultimately market forces and competition do play a part. The extra road km’s that the current Labor policy need to be paid for. Currently those questions are conveniently being ignored, as is the costing of the Labor model and where the money will come from. These are important questions.

        It is necessary to look at who pays for what. Do you load the costs back onto the government, or do you make it a user pays system. You can bring as much or as little politics into as you like.

        As far as encouraging a State Liberal Party. There are 3 upper house representatives in Phil Edman, Nick Goiran and Simon O’Brien that collectively look after this patch that is being discussed. Send your views to them as the more people that they hear from about it the better. I think you will find a lot of the arguments already being put forward, but you do want these arguments making it to the Upper House so that a robust debate can otherwise take place.

        Telling people to not comment if there’s politics in it, is counter productive. Comment is comment, where its political or not.

        • Mark says:

          Just to note 1/2 the port is in the northern metro area so this is the patch of guys like Peter Katsambanis and the rest of the northern metro mlc

        • Martin says:

          All roads are paid for by us via the government. Of course road freight is subsidised – just taken for granted because it’s a sunk / past cost as soon as the new road is built. The question whether to spend money on roads or rail comes down to an optimisation of the allocation of a finite resource – tax payers’ money. Where does government get the best bang for buck?

          Building a new road pushes all of the cost back onto government up-front. Subsidising rail pushes some of the cost to government over an extended period. Which is optimal? Who knows, as the facts never get properly presented or discussed.

          I would prefer for the politicians to take more notice of the professional staff and advisors of their departments like Main Roads etc. A “Captain’s call” rarely delivers the optimal outcome.

          Comment politically or otherwise all you like Matthew – nobody is telling you not to. My point is that if you want a balanced, fact based discussion, let’s focus on establishing the facts first. Politics is just opinion, not fact.

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