My morning coffee this morning was accompanied as usual by RN 7:00am news. What was different today was the faltering voice of Premier Colin Barnett shouting in parliament: “We will withdraw right now, is that what you want no housing in Fremantle, no housing in Fremantle.” The voice and message seemed to be from someone who has lost the plot. The outburst appears to be in response to a question in Parliament about a Weekend Australian newspaper report quoting the Premier as advising Fremantle (Council) “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
What seems to have the Premier so upset are comments related to the sale of Fremantle Ports on serious issues such as the future of the crucial cruise ship trade and none Port core business related land on Victoria Quay, which currently has plans for office and commercial buildings.
Let’s be clear about this, questions related to the proposed Port sale are a key duty of Fremantle Council in being able to protect the business vibrancy in our city. Council has not made a determination on the proposed Port sale, so an attack by the Premier on perceived opposition to the sale by Council is unfounded. Last night Council debated a motion on having a workshop to prepare “a submission for government on agreed matters” related to the proposed sale of the Port and the proposed Perth Freight Link. Once that process is completed Council, will hopefully have an agreed position on aspects related to the proposed Port sale.
Also determined unanimously last night was Fremantle Council’s opposition to the proposed Perth Freight Link. This determination was based on an independent technical report compiled by Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Unit (CUSP), which is very clear in outlining the fundamental faults of the proposal. Had the State Government commissioned an independent report, rather than basing their decision on political idealism, they would also be aware of those fundamental flaws.
The City’s logo has the words ‘Nec Prece – Nec Pretio’ on it, this can be interpreted in modern English as ‘Without Fear – Without Favour’. I intend to follow that credo in my work on Council, and will not be influenced to threats by the Premier. Local Government is an important and valid tier of Government in Australia, for one tier of Government to threaten another tier is totally unacceptable.