Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Where state government royalties should be spent

The majority of the proposed Fremantle rates rise is to cover increased costs associated with the Canning Vale recycling plant. I accept the argument by Martin Anda (Fremantle Herald, Thinking Allowed, 8 August 2009) that we can and must shift to a comprehensive system of recycling, re-use and composting. We can’t dodge this cost by returning to the bad old days of dumping everything in landfill.

However achieving this shift across the whole of greater Perth, where the majority of the state’s population lives is a huge job; comparable to running water or electricity infrastructure. Certainly it’s bigger than council budgets and council politics. I believe the state government should be helping fund this transition. No doubt they would cry poor, but this is why the dubious Liberal-Nationals “royalties for regions” policy needs to be put under the spotlight. Projects should be funded on merit, whether they’re in the bush or the city.

Ironically the “royalties for regions” money will not be used to buy back and repair our rural rail network which is collapsing as a consequence of its privatisation by a previous conservative government, even though saving this network was one of the Nationals’ election promises. At the same time worthwhile city projects like recycling plants are also excluded. This surely shows up the pork-barrelling nature of the whole thing. Instead of their bogus “royalties for regions”, we need to press for “royalties for re-use, recycling, railways and renewable energy”.

Sam Wainwright

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Abolish the ABCC - Community Solidarity

[This is a media release from the workers' rights campaign group Community Solidarity. Sam Wainwright is a spokesperson for Community Solidarity.]

Near fatality on same day as ABCC court case shows that coercive powers must be abolished
Community Solidarity calls on Melissa Parke to speak out for civil liberties

On Tuesday August 11 a worker on a city construction site survived a near fatal accident after falling fourteen metres down a lift shaft. On the same day Adelaide construction worker Ark Tribe had to face court, with the threat of six months jail hanging over his head, for refusing to cooperate with the Howard-era Australian Building and Construction Commission investiagtion of a safety dispute at his worksite.

"This is further proof that not only are the ABCC powers a breach of civil liberties, but they are impeding the work of occupational health and safety delegates and placing peoples lives at risk" said resident Dave Fox. Fox is a boiler maker, an activist in Community Solidarity and State Vice-President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

He continued, "Industries such as construction, mining, off shore oil and gas and stevedoring are some of our most dangerous. Workers in these fields need to be able to identify and combat safety hazards. But instead they have had their basic civil liberties stripped away by the ABCC which takes away their right to silence, deprives them of regular legal representation and conducts its hearings in secrecy."

He concluded, "Julia Gillard is wrong to say that these powers are still necessary. Blue collar workers are not terrorists. We deserve the same rights as the rest of the community."

Fellow Communty Solidarity activist and Maritime Union of Australia wharfie Sam Wainwright said that Rudd and Gillard had broken their election promises by not abolishing the ABCC and all of WorkChoices. "Federal Labor's legislation has only made minor changes to the WorkChoices regime. Their legislation is still in breach of International Labour Organisation standards."

Wainwright said that it was time for former human rights lawyer and Fremantle MHR Melissa Parke to take a stand, "Melissa has spoken to our union meetings and said that she is personally against the continuation of the ABCC powers and we believe her, but now is the time to speak out publically. We know she'd cop the wrath of the Labor caucus, but lives are at stake and this is no time to sit on the fence."

Included in this post are photos of the Community Solidarity members on the campaign trail against the ABCC.

For more comment:
Dave Fox . . . . . . . . . . 0410 410 592
Sam Wainwright . . . 0412 751 508

For specific comment on the August 11 accident:
Mick Buchan (CFMEU Organiser) 0419 812 861

For general information on the campaign against the ABCC go to:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Freo Gazette: "Reassess rates charges"

The Fremantle Gazette has reported on Sam's call to reassess Fremantle's proposed rates rise.

"Activist and candidate for the Hilton ward in the upcoming local government elections Sam Wainwright believes the foreshadowed 8.5 per cent rate hike should spark greater debate about Fremantle Council's sources of revenue," the paper reported.

"The way we calculate rates may be simple, but apart from the pensioner discount, it takes no real account of people's capacity to pay," Sam is quoted as saying.

The paper also reported: "He also said the State Government should bear some of the costs associated with the SMRC Resource Recovery Centre."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Notre Dame Uni should pay its way

Sam Wainwright is one of two Fremantle Council candidates who have called for Notre Dame University to pay its way. The Fremantle Herald reported the views of Sam and Lloyd Hammond in its August 1 edition.

The paper quoted Sam saying that "the university is exempt from paying rates but relies on a whole range of council services and facilities that other universities would pay for themselves".

Further: "I think it should pay a civic amenity fee similar to the rates it would otherwise pay."

The Fremantle council is considering an 8% rates increase for residents.

Monday, August 3, 2009

First round of letterboxing - whole ward covered

We had a great time over the weekend (Aug 1-2) during which we letterboxed the whole of Hilton Ward (see map to left).

There were a number of people helping including: wharf workers, community workers, anti-nuclear & climate action campaigners, local school teachers, students and other O'Connor & Hilton residents.

It was a great efffort. THANKS to all involved!!! See you all soon.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Download Sam's flyer

Vote for Sam Wainwright - Hilton Ward
Community Activist, Socialist, Unionist

Download Sam's whole election flyer here.

Reconnect Samson with Fremantle City
Stock Road cuts Samson off from the rest of Fremantle, discouraging pedestrian and bicycle traffic between Hilton and Samson. We need an underpass or over-bridge across Stock Road to connect the two suburbs. We also need to campaign for better Transperth services to Samson.

Maintaining our beaches, parks and green spaces for everyone
As we build more medium and high density housing we need to maintain and even expand access to parks and other recreational space. This is why I’ve joined the campaigns against the various attempts by some developers to build on and privatise our coastline. The beaches belong to everyone.

Value older and long term residents - Rates based on ability to pay, not just house value
As property values have increased so have peoples rates. This puts an unfair burden onto pensioners, retirees and other people on modest fixed incomes who own their own homes. Like income tax, rates should be calculated on people’s capacity to pay. Let’s value older residents by making sure that fees and charges don’t price them out living in our community.

Council Democracy and Services Provision
We need to bring back all council services into council hands and stop further outsourcing to protect working conditions and services; and so residents have a say over how services are delivered.

Samson Shops
The lack of shops and community facilities in Samson has gone on too long. It’s ridiculous that people need to drive or cross busy roads to buy milk and bread. The council needs to step in and take ownership of the project.

Make Fremantle a fight climate change council
All levels of government - including Fremantle Council - need to ensure we make an urgent shift to a zero-emissions economy. Fremantle Council can help with its own infrastructure development and universal environmental standards in all new building approvals. More importantly, the council can help pressure state and federal governments to implement 100% renewable energy and free and expanded public transport. A Transperth Free Transit Zone in Fremantle and the implementation of the council bicycle plan would be a good start.

Council support for community gardens
Creating a Hilton community garden is a great idea. Let’s support communities that want to turn underutilised council and other land into community garden projects.

Hilton Precinct
The council’s done some great work in projecting how the Hilton shopping area could be transformed from a chaotic eyesore into a people friendly area, but the hurdle is the Main Roads classification of that part of South Street. This is no longer a justification because the Fremantle Eastern Bypass is not going to be built. If needed the council can organise to put public pressure on Main Roads and the State Government to get the project going.

Support rights for council and community workers
The council is an extension of the community and should set an example in workplace rights and standards. It should not use individual contracts or anti-union laws to drive down wages and conditions. The idea that this is good management that saves money is completely wrong because it undermines the working conditions of everyone in the community. Councilors have a right and responsibility to take an interest in employment conditions in our community.

Download Sam's whole election flyer here.

Sam Wainwright - biographical info

Sam Wainwright
Hilton Ward Resident, Community Campaigner

Hello, I live in O’Connor with my partner Janet and work at the Fremantle container terminal. I’m have been an advocate for workers rights,environmental sustainability and community democracy for around 20 years.

I’m active in the Community Solidarity group which has helped workers and communities fighting for their rights.

Being a wharfie, I’m a member of the Maritime Union of Australia, where I’ve been a workplace delegate and edit the union’s newspaper.

I’m the Convener of the Fremantle branch of the Socialist Alliance and was a Candidate in the recent Fremantle by-election.

These activities have given me skills to get things done and to help people get active in their own community to make change.