Fremantle’s $100,000 Fighting Fund Deferred.

Good to see item  (SPC1505-1 NOTICE OF MOTION – CR JON STRACHAN – FREMANTLE COUNCIL’S POSITION ON THE PROPOSED PERTH FREIGHT LINK) for allocating $100,000 of COF funds for their attack on the state government was deferred. No chance of them voting it down out right, I think a couple were salivating at the idea of wasting that much money on trying to stick it to the government? For information it was not Strachan who came up with the magic $100K figure he said that it came from the CEO/staff.

The point Rachel Pemberton raised was correct it’s not clear what they would be protesting against. As the actual plan has not been finalized yet. Maybe she has been reading my blog post? What was clear is that again Dave Hume brought a touch of reality to the issue perhaps he has been speaking to residents and ratepayers on the issue? As his point was what I have heard a lot over the last couple of days, is that this $100,000 of rate payers funds is pretty much to fund certain councillors personal political agendas.

Following Dave Humes touch of reality, Bill Massie brought his no nonsense, practical, common sense to the conversation, cautioning councillors to be responsible with rate payer’s funds, which brought the usual scoffs and snickers from the same councillors? Amazing Bill speaks of responsibility, no waste, fiduciary responsibility and they laugh, tells a story doesn’t it? Makes you wonder who the sustainable ones are and who just use it as a political catch cry?

Of course several said that of course this was not the case but Dave Hume made a good point which is pretty obvious that council’s action need to be in the best interest of the general good of Fremantle, not their personal concern or political ideals etc.

With the actions of council over the last year or so it seems clear political agenda is the first and foremost issue and general amenity of residents and ratepayers appear to be well down the list. The current councils not driving a political agenda is as believable as them being, not anti-car?

I get there are certain parts of the community would love the council to spend a fortune fighting against the state government, on this issue or others but is this the function of council? I’m sure there are groups in our community, who couldn’t damn for councils political agenda ideals and others are dead against it?

I would like to see an impact/modeling study on the impact on Fremantle if the current train system was to be maximised on freight use, would all those residents along the train line be happy with volume of train use, their heavy diesel pollution brought in the CBD, the noise pollution etc? The council wants to re-engaged the port through the Freo train station area, how is that possible if we quadruple the rail traffic?

What impact would that have on the businesses in fishing boat harbour? How would this effect emergency services accessing these areas?

What impact would that have on access to the south mole?

What impact would that have on southern harbour operations, Rottnest island ferries, retail on the port, cruise ships etc?

Impact on the arts precincts in the west end, round house, bather’s beach, J-shed area, etc. All areas the council is telling us they are trying to activate?

Sadly I don’t think one system or the other will maintain the ports transport needs into the future but it will be a mixture of both. I would also like to hear from the port authority on what is practical for their operational point of view? The real issue is it also seems impossible to go to one location and get unbiased information on the issue as a whole?

According to Brad all will be clear once CUSP finishes or releases their studies, no agenda from that group is there? What’s was concerning is listening to Brad discuss the timing of CUSP releases with the city use $100,000 fighting fund to maximise impact? No political agenda there right, so much for waiting for the findings of the minister request for proposals, or the CUSP reports, it seems from these comments the course of action to be already pre-determined?

Just waiting now for the Fremantle rate payers and residents to foot the bill again?


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  1. Good observations as usual Mark. To shed a little light on the whole business of moving freight to rail. The State Government has already said, multiple times that it’s goal is to get 30% on rail. The Labor party’s policy is to get 30% on rail. So whats the difference? None. Both have determined that more needs to go on rail, however the Labor party and the media will like everyone to think otherwise. They are also trying to get people to cancel the Perth Freight link.

    Again, this goes back to what you were saying about council business vs political agendas from councilors.

    What they don’t seem to mention, and this includes the council, is that every % on rail is subsidised. I don’t know the exact figure, but its 1 or 2 million dollars per percentage point. From memory, the current about on rail is 11% or near that figure. This is a subsidy that needs to be paid each and every year. If it isn’t, less will go on rail and more on road. The Labor party, road-2-rail etc, forgot that their policies are about FORCING companies to comply, rather than free enterprise, which is rightly about choice. However, a loss, is a loss and WA has been subsidised on power, water, etc, etc because of the Labor party for a long time, was their policy. Its only in recent years that this trend has started to change.

    That’s the difference between road and rail costs. Rail is generally more heavily unionised, which is realistically the main reason behind the Labor parties push for Road-2-Rail. Deisel particulates? Really. Locomotives use diesel. Freight movement is freight movement. You will still need trucks to unload the trains and then cart the containers.

    Saying all this, most people are not against more freight movements via rail. Frankly, people don’t care. However, when you tell them the real reasons, then they can make an informed choice. Freight on rail = greater cost.

    Another interesting note, seeing that you mentioned CUSP and Brad was that it seems that the woman running the “Save Beelier Wetlands” mob, is in the school of sustainability at Murdoch.

  2. dickbaynham says:

    I agree that the primary responsibility of Councillors should always be to listen to their ratepayers and ensure the City uses the funds raised in a responsible manner to provide services that make Fremantle a better place to live, work or visit – rather than pursuing private or political agendas.

    It is also true that the commercial issues on rail v road are complex and far reaching. It is not simply a case of preferring one over the other. Assuming the Port is sold to a private company as part of the planned sell off of State assets, it will be interesting to see how that affects Government policies.

    The reality is that whichever company buys the Port they will be in a strong position to negotiate conditions and those conditions will affect whether or not the sale goes through and the price paid.

    While I am sure that local environmental issues will be important to both the buyer and the seller, the over riding concern is going to be financial and that may change everything.

    • Mark says:

      Dick all true.
      The other issue for modern ports the infrastructure is old, many ports are more automated.
      Then u have the political baggage of fremantle, will modern port operators want to be involved in all the hoo harr?
      I sure the conditions they lay out will be quite comprehensive.
      For sure a investor is not picking up the bill for 20 years of poor planning.

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