ROEL LOOPERS RECENTLY SAID THE WORK OF TRANSPERTH CLEANERS IS ‘PATHETIC’. A TRANSPERTH SPOKESMAN HAS DE-RAILED LOOPERS’ OBSERVATION.
In a recent blog Roel Loopers made a derogatory statement about cleaners of Transperth train carriages on the Fremantle Perth line.
In his statement he admitted he is not a frequent user of the trains but stated: “Pathetic to see the cleaning attempts for Covid-19 by four young women at the Fremantle train station. Each of them with a wet wipe in each hand, but no spray, walking along the carriage and totally ignoring the individual hand loops that hang from the ceiling in the trains. The upright hand bars were also only cleaned as far as they good [sic] reach while standing upright. PTA get your act together!”
That is a remarkably condemning and sexist statement from a person who claims to be an ‘investigative blogger’ offering a ‘free professional service’.
TRANSPERTH PRECAUTIONS SHOW LOOPERS IS OFF THE RAILS
Following an enquiry by Fremantle Backchat a spokesman for Public Transport Authority, David Hynes, issued a statement which derails Loopers’ observations.
Mr Hynes outlined a number of precautions which have been implemented in the interests of public safety since the Covid 19 pandemic was declared. He said: “Trains, buses and ferries, which have always been cleaned every day, are now undergoing a substantially escalated cleaning regime and are cleaned more frequently.”
He explained that all touch points, which include internal and external door buttons, hand rails, and hanging straps are regularly wiped down with disinfectant and said “For our Fremantle line this happens each time a train pulls into Fremantle Station”.
NO INSTANCES OF INFECTIONS FROM TRANSPERTH
In addition Mr Hynes detailed that at other stations escalator belts, elevator buttons, ticketing machines and railings are regularly cleaned and high traffic stations, which include Perth Underground, Perth Station and Elizabeth Quay, are cleaned as frequently as every 60 to 90 minutes.
He concluded by saying the cleaning regimes are supervised and regularly audited. He confirmed there have been no instances of Covid 19 transmission on Transperth services.
CLEANERS AT THE COALFACE
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many inconveniences to lifestyles world-wide. As a result there has been widespread appreciation of the work of people who make our lives safer and easier. These workers, such as thosein the health services – and those who clean our public transport – are now visibly working at a dangerous coalface.
Since it is inception about ten years ago FIPP has grown to be one of largest photographic portrait shows in Australia and the largest in WA.
Last Saturday evening (12th October) was the grand opening at the Moore’s Building of the Fifth Fremantle International Portrait Prize (FIPP). About two hundred invited guests, including some of Australia’s top photographers, attended the opening of an inspiring exhibition.
FIPP is rather special, not only because it has attracted entries from about 40 countries, putting the City front and centre on the international photographic scene, but because it is run totally by volunteers and held to benefit charity. Most photographic competitions are actually businesses, established to make profits for organisers. FIPP is managed by a small group of professional and amateur photo enthusiasts who have thus far raised in excess of $60,000 for charities, in particular the Arthritis Foundation.
The work of 150 high quality finalists is on show together with the winners in a number of sections. Of particular interest for enthusiasts is the section dedicated to smart phone entrants displays quality which challenges that of high end equipment.
Go along and pick a winner. One winner has not been Judged. It’s always a mystery – the choice of the public. It’s worth spending an hour of your time in the historical Moore’s Building gallery in Henry Street to meander through this collection which ranges through styles of work in both classic black & white to colour photography. Go along, drop a couple of bucks in the collection tin, check the show out and vote for your choice of winner. You’ll find the judges’ winners but you don’t be intimidated by their choice. This is your chance to make somebody’s day.
Backchat has published this selection the winners and place getters (there are more) with the photographers’ names but no details as to what they won. It’s entertaining to go along, buy the beautiful catalogue and hunt down the winners on the walls. You can also grab one of the best coffees in town at the Moore and Moore Cafe.
There really is something here for all tastes in photography.
No need to be a top end pro: This is a broad collection of photographs which shows you do not have to be a top end professional photographer to produce world class images. It’s a competition open to both amateur and professional shooters.
Go along, take the kids, take your time and enjoy the best show in town
The Judges Secrets: For real enthusiasts a new innovation as been added to this event. On Wednesday evening, 23rd October, in the Moore’s Building the three judges will be answering questions and debating how they reached their conclusions. It will be interesting, enlightening and challenging and will certainly give future aspirants winning tips to ponder over. There is an entry fee of $20 this event.
The FIPP show is on until Sunday 27th October, open every day from 10.00am until 4.00pm. The gallery is a pleasant five minute walk from the Fremantle Railway Station via the old West End of the City.
NOTE: All photographs are copyright and may not be used for any purpose other than that of fair comment and review.
Roger Garwood, Editor, Fremantle Backchat : firstname.lastname@example.org
•Brad Pettitt Top of the Financial League of Mayors
•Government Advise Ratepayers: ‘question council performances
Statistics, published in The West Australian (17th April 2018), show Dr Brad Pettitt has become the highest paid mayor in Western Australia.. These figures are confirmed by Fremantle Council’s accounts and exclude various allowances.
Additional statistics, published in WA Government’s Financial Health Index (FHI), show that during Dr Pettitt’s tenure the City of Fremantle has fallen to the lowest position in the State with a Financial Health Index figure of 44
In two of the immediate past three financial years the city had a low score of 42 and 44. In the Financial year of 2016-17 the score was also very low but the city changed its accounting methodology and elevated the FHI to 87. At that time Treasury issued a statement saying: ‘We stand by our original figures’.
Top Mayoral Salaries are:
The Financial Health Index of those Councils show:
The higher the score, the better the financial health of a council. These scores are an indication of financial management and of services offered to ratepayers. They show ratepayers’ their value for money.
It is interesting to note the second lowest performance is Nedlands with an FHI of 50. Fremantle based consultancy LewiCorp Pty Ltd, owned by Chris Lewis who spearheaded the failed ‘Keep the Dockers in Fremantle’ campaign, is shown as being paid as a council adviser in the accounts of both Fremantle and Nedlands. Lewis was also instrumental in a fundraising campaign for Dr Pettit’s first mayoral campaign.
GOVERNMENT ADVISES COMMUNITIES TO QUESTION COUNCIL PERFORMANCES
The WA Government website <https://mycouncil.wa.gov.au/Council/CompareAllCouncil> advise to ratepayers states: “A very high or low FHI may be a prompt for questions to be asked by the community about a local government’s revenue, expenses, and service delivery. The FHI is best viewed as a trend over time”
ACADEMIC THEORY- ARE THE CHOOKS COMING HOME TO ROOST ?
When Dr Pettitt was first elected mayor he stated: ‘. . . I’m delighted to be able to put my academic theories into practice in Fremantle . . . ’. but has never detailed his academic theories. After nearly ten years in the top job, and based on the performance of council under his leadership, the theories must be questioned.
A ratepayer-funded, multimillion dollar, public relations campaign has failed to halt the slide in the city’s fortunes. The campaign includes websites, newspaper advertising and a magazine which has ceased publication after council admitted it has failed.
There is a growing impatience among ratepayers and businesses, a very high proportion of whom have closed shop and left or are struggling to pay higher rents and increasing rates in the face of falling customer numbers.
The city’s east end now has approximately 80 vacant retail premises with no sign of the resurgence of business promised as a result of the development of a Woolworth’s shopping centre (now prematurely closed). The increase of trade from residents expected from new developments have not materialised. Anectodal evidence indicates the LIV apartments are about 50% occupied following an increase in service personnel taking up residence..
In the instance of the re-development of Atwell Arcade the mayor promised that 300 people would be employed in the new offices. That was three years ago. So far there are about 40.
Without knowing Dr Pettitt’s academic theories it is difficult to comment but there is scant evidence of their success. There is no questioning Brad Pettitt’s youthful enthusiasm but after ten years it is reasonable to question the efficacy of his theories.
Over the next few weeks Fremantle Backchat will examine issues related to the current failure of the city to improve its financial position.
Part Two: Next Week. Council’s Lack of Transparency
FREO COUNCILLOR ENDORSES ‘FREE BOOB AND F*CK ME’ DRESS CODE FOR FALLS FESTIVAL GIRLS
Fremantle City Ward Councillor Rachel Pemberton endorsed a sexually explicit dress code for girls attending the Falls Festival in Fremantle last weekend (6th & 7th December). Following a series of alleged sexual assaults at the Falls Festival in Tasmania Pemberton wrote on her blog:
“Women’s fashion tips from Falls – pants are optional, a transparent bra is a visible alternative to a top or you can simply ‘free boob’, and ‘f*ck me’ boots are back in fashion”.
The statement was revealed by Freo Streetwise, magazine edited and published by journalist Carmelo Amalifi. Streetwise is rapidly gaining a reputation for tackling the hard news in Fremantle and calling the City Council to account.
TACIT SUPPORT FOR PEMBERTON FROM MAYOR AND COUNCIL
The story, published on the Streetwise magazines Facebook page, has resulted in condemnation from the community but gained tacit support from Mayor Brad Pettitt, a former partner of Pemberton, and North Fremantle Councillor Doug Thompson. Instead of offering a reasonable explanation for her statement Pemberton, in the face of concerned critics, simply accused them of cyber bullying.
Pemberton, a high profile councillor, had the opportunity to condemn the dress code she publicly endorsed. She had an outstanding chance to support the right of women to wear whatever they wish, wherever they wish, without making themselves targets of sexual predators. She promoted the opposite position, giving credence to predatory sexual behaviour. Thompson, the city’s longest service councillor, made the observation that comments condemning Rachel Pemberton demonstrated the worst aspects of social media.
Thompson’s comment, endorsed by Pettitt, ignored the issue of the City Ward Councillor’s sexually explicit post, thus offering tacit support. Nor, (at the time of writing), has any councillor criticised Pemberton. The comments on the Facebook page of Freo Streetwise presented an opportunity for Pemberton to explain in detail her post, maybe to apologise for it. Her only defense was to accuse critics of bullying. They didn’t. They were shocked, wanted an explanation and called for her dismissal, resignation and an inquiry into council’s code of ethics.The problems faced at Falls in Tasmania were published nationally over a number of days.
PEMBERTON: A QUESTIONABLE ROLE MODEL
Recent Mayoral challenger Ra Stewart said:
“Rachel Pemberton as the mother of two young women attending this event I am appalled at your comments. There was no suggestion about female empowerment in your statement, you provided commentary on a dress code and the inference was most definitely derogative. I would hate to think how your comments are interpreted by young men, let alone my daughters.”
Stewart questioned Pemberton’s position as a role model in the city.
“You’re kidding right… Rachel Pemberton, as a leader in our city, Councillor, and role model (?) for our young women”.
APPALLING & IRRESPONSIBLE:
Claudia Green, an expert in governance – the manner in which all branches of government should operate – and recent City Ward candidate, commented:
“ …Councillor Pemberton is in breach of her role and responsibility as an elected representative and public servant paid from the public purse, apart from the appalling message she is sending.
“She has claimed a conflict of interest to abrogate her duties to represent her electorate in the Sunset development planning application by accepting freebies from Sunset. Now this awful abrogation of responsibility of her duties as an elected representative of public service.
“The CEO and the Mayor need to bring her into line and reprimand her and be brought to the appropriate Committee for discipline. She should be sacked. Once verified, a complaint will be laid. She is bringing the Council into disrepute.”
Green is correct in calling on the Mayor and CEO to refer the matter to a disciplinary committee. Together with other posted comments she asks for Pemberton to be sacked. However the early signs from council indicate that all councillors will offer tacit support to Pemberton’s unconscionable, amoral, advice.
Rachel Pemberton could demonstrate a moral and ethical backbone by admitting her vacuous judgement, apologise and resign immediately. If any councillors have any morality or understanding of professional ethics they will condemn Pemberton, call for her resignation and get on with the job of running a city in crisis.
By not condemning Pemberton’s blog post the mayor and his councillor’s are endorsing an increasing public opinion that they are out of touch with the wishes of the community for higher standards of professional ethics and morality to be demonstrated. At the very least Councillor Pemberton, who receives substantial payments from ratepayers, should be stood down and an independent inquiry, with representation by ratepayers, held. A closed door cover-up will not be acceptable.
NOTE: It appears that Pemberton has recently removed her blog post but no explanation or apology is offered.
SPIN CITY: $650,000 BUDGET FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS
Fremantle journalist Carmelo Amalfi has revealed Fremantle Council has so far spent $650,000 on a public relations campaign.
Ratepayers Face Conflicting Evidence of Visitor Numbers
The Mayor, Dr Brad Pettitt, paraphrasing spin from Sirona, stated in late September that Fremantle has 1,600,000 tourists per year.
He claims this will increase to 3,000,000 when the Myer makeover is completed but quickly contradicted himself, announcing the Fremantle Festival Parade will be cancelled because visitor numbers are not high enough.
The parade will be replaced by a shopping trolley race to held in King’s Square to raise money for charity. There should be no shortage of competitors. Within fifty metres of the mayor’s office there are enough homeless people using shopping trolleys to harness their belongings in their shopping trollies and head for the starting line.
On the 5th October the Mayor quoted conflicting visitor numbers. These show that in the financial years of 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 visitor figures were a little short of 1.3 million per year, 300,000 less than figure of 1.6m Dr Pettitt had previously quoted which he said were obtained from the Department of Tourism.
The Mayors latest statistics show the Festival period of November has a very high visitor rating, only marginally lower than the Christmas and Easter holiday periods.
So why cancel the Festival Parade which has been the highlight of the annual ten day festival for 20 years?
EMERGING DYSTOPIAN SOCIETY
It’s not difficult to spot the city’s emerging dystopian society. Retail trade in the West End is collapsing. Within a stone’s throw of the Town Hall, where rents for a medium size retail outlet are as high as $240,000, homeless people sleep in the empty doorways. Of course the problem is solved easily – move them on. We now have a security team recruited by council to clean up the streets, moving less than fortunate people away. Out of sight, out of mind! A band aid solution for an increasing problem and a clear sign of a city in crisis.
While this is happening Spin City HQ is in full swing. The council are reportedly burning a budget in excess of $650,000 to try and make the Magic Pudding rise. Coincidently this feel good spin is happening during the lead up to an election where challengers to the Koolaid Council, followers of The Cult Of Brad, are fighting for seats and salaries Fremantle ratepayers are funding the spin campaign.
THE ONE EYED MAN IS KING
We’re told that the Myer makeover will see Fremantle’s economy rise, Phoenix like, from the ashes of an eight year autocracy.
The Mayor is commendably one eyed about the city’s future. But in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. There is also a biblical saying: ” When a blind man bears the standard, pity those who follow.”
FINANCIAL GOAL POSTS MOVED IN A SMOKE AND MIRRORS ACT
The city’s overbearing spin has sparse factual substance but when the financial facts related to the King’s Square development were exposed by financial expert Martin Lee and City Ward candidate Claudia Green, they were brushed under the carpet. Those facts, based on figures obtained from council, show Fremantle faces a financial collapse leaving ratepayers to fill a black hole of up to $50,000,000.
This financial collapse was recently endorsed by the Minister who stated Fremantle is a city at financial risk. Fremantle had the worst financial rating on the State’s Local Government website.
Fremantle Council claimed that was not the case explaining they had moved the goal posts in the accounting system, hence the poor showing of 42 points in a statewide list of councils’ finances. 70 points is the benchmark for good financial health.
Within a fee days the goal posts were moved again. Fremantle now has a rating of 85! Questions must be asked about how this smoke and mirrors act came about.
Was the Minister mislead, were Treasury so incompetent they misread the city’s accounts? Did all ratepayers come down with the last shower and believe this overnight turnaround? Was there a moment of panic in the Mayor’s office?
LIPSTICK ON A PIG
The Myer makeover materialised from an architectural competition and is described in Spin City’s publicity as world class. It is not. It is simply putting lipstick on a pig. The style is a Neo Lavatorial throwback to the 60s similar to that used in the in the east end of the city. That too was promised to be a miracle trading area for the city. The area is now little more than a third world eyesore with a promised hotel development put on hold and becoming a temporary car park. The new Woolworth’s site, next to St Patrick’s, which we were told would bring life to the east end of the city, is closed after a few years of trading. At least 80 retail and business premises are now visibly vacant in Fremantle’s CBD alone. The total is probably over 100.
OUTSIDE FORCES BLAMED WITH SMOKE AND MIRRORS SPIN
Outside forces are blamed: the GFC; mining boom collapse; State Government finances et al. Yet other shires flourish while operating under identical state, national and international burdens.
What we are getting is more Spin. Smoke and mirrors distractions: Australia Day; plastic bags; charity collection pillars; speed humps; shopping trolly derby; ‘Yes’ vote. Non of these issues address the core problems facing the city and the spin bait seems to be swallowed hook line and sinker by every member of council.
Does council really need a new administration building? The old one seems to have worn quite well and bears a striking resemblance to the Myer makeover, a carry over from ’60s style architecture. The market in Kings Square has not succeeded in attracting visitors and there is no reason to assume that the glossy spin from Sirona will be any more successful. These lifestyle promotions can result in spectacular failures. An example is the Docklands development in Melbourne which now has retailers and restauranteurs walking away from their leases and apartment owners saying ‘this is not the lifestyle we were promised’.
$1.3 BILLION INVESTMENT MANTRA : ONLY 20% HAPPENING
We are told that investments of $1.3 billion are progressing in the city. They are not. In fact they are nearly all stalled, put on hold. The only visible progress is Sirona’s where we’ll see concrete Botox slapped on Miss Piggy. That is less than 20% of the investments the Mayor claims are happening.
THE ASIAN CONNECTION
Sirona is a company with strong connections to Alvarez and Marsal, a corporation specialising in turning sluggish areas into sustainable growth. Are Sirona a pimple on the back of a massive overseas corporation and can we expect to see a sell out? In that respect council have helped by selling assets at bargain basement prices to Sirona. Many of the ratepayers’ assets at well below market value. We can be 100% certain that the real winners will be the developers. Who negotiated that deal?
￼ NOTE: Dr Pettitt has been asked to clarify the visitor figures and has been asked whether there was any other reason the Festival Parade has been cancelled.