YEAR IN RE­VIEW

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS -

JAN­UARY

SCHOOLS around Fre­man­tle, Cockburn and Melville faced an un­cer­tain start to the school year af­ter news chaplaincy fund­ing would be cut. Af­fected schools had to de­cide whether to cut the chaplaincy pro­gram or fund it them­selves. WA Coun­cil of State School Or­gan­sa­tions pres­i­dent Kylie Catto said it was “in­con­ceiv­able” that chaplaincy fund­ing would not be al­lo­cated to schools ac­cord­ing to need. “For a panel to de­cide that fund­ing should be al­lo­cated based on the per­cent­age of the to­tal stu­dent pop­u­la­tion, rather than tar­geted to need, par­tic­u­larly at a time when our sys­tem is en­ter­ing a needs­based fund­ing model, is com­pletely con­tra­dic­tory,” she said. “With the fund­ing cuts of 2013 and in­creas­ing pres­sure on schools due to changes in 2015, schools will sim­ply not be able to pick up the tab for chap­lains.”

FE­BRU­ARY

A NEW era for emer­gency hos­pi­tal care be­gan in the south met­ro­pol­i­tan area, with Fre­man­tle Hos­pi­tal shut­ting its emer­gency depart­ment doors on the same day that the Fiona Stan­ley Hos­pi­tal ED opened for busi­ness. In a mas­sive op­er­a­tion in­volv­ing 124 Fre­man­tle, 105 Royal Perth, 43 Fiona Stan­ley and 66 St John Am­bu­lance staff, 65 pa­tients were trans­ferred from Fre­man­tle to Fiona Stan­ley Hos­pi­tal. The fol­low­ing week­end an­other 100 pa­tients were moved from RPH to Fiona Stan­ley as the $2 bil­lion Mur­doch hos­pi­tal as­sumed the man­tle of Perth flag­ship.

MARCH

LO­CAL gov­ern­ment amal­ga­ma­tions were stymied as coun­cils such as East Fre­man­tle and Cockburn dug in their heels against the changes that would see the num­ber of met­ro­pol­i­tan coun­cils re­duced. The changes, which were due to be im­ple­mented on July 1, were can­celled af­ter Gov­er­nor’s Or­ders were re­voked. The with­drawal came af­ter Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son told coun­cils the amal­ga­ma­tion process would no longer go ahead af­ter failed polls in three af­fected ar­eas. Mr Simp­son re­jected the as­ser­tion that the merg­ers came about be­cause the Gov­ern­ment had been lob­bied by builders un­happy with plan­ning laws that were not uni­form.

APRIL

THE $4.9 bil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment of the Cockburn Coast took a mas­sive step for­ward in April, but con­cerns re­mained that the site’s full po­ten­tial would not be re­alised un­less light rail link­ing Fre­man­tle with the site was built. Lands Min­is­ter Terry Red­man launched the Shore­line de­vel­op­ment, the first of three precincts be­tween South Beach and Port Coogee, and the fu­ture site of some 2500 medium to high den­sity homes for about 50,000 peo­ple. The 47ha precinct will in­clude a pri­mary school, sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties and com­mer­cial and re­tail space. The release will be fol­lowed by the Hill­top and Power Sta­tion precincts over the com­ing years. With an ex­tra 12,000 peo­ple to live there within 20 years time, Cockburn Mayor Lo­gan Howlett ar­gued light rail had to form part of the in­fra­struc­ture trans­port­ing peo­ple in an out of the precinct. He re­ceived sup­port from the City of Fre­man­tle and State Op­po­si­tion, but Mr Red­man said a bus pri­or­ity cor­ri­dor would ad­e­quately ser­vice the area.

MAY

PUTTING Fre­man­tle Port up for sale was one of the most con­tentious items in this year’s State Bud­get. Premier Colin Bar­nett and Trea­surer Mike Na­han an­nounced the State Gov­ern­ment would sell Fre­man­tle Port through a long-term lease and use the pro­ceeds to re­duce debt and fund ma­jor new projects. With a forecast op­er­at­ing bud­get deficit of $2.7 bil­lion and a debt of $31 bil­lion for 2015-16, Mr Bar­nett said the Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to sell Fre­man­tle Port would en­able it to con­tinue build­ing the eco­nomic in­fra­struc­ture of WA with­out adding to debt. “The de­ci­sion to pursue a sen­si­ble pro­gram of fur­ther as­set sales will en­able the Gov­ern­ment to build new in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port fu­ture growth with­out putting fur­ther pres­sure on the state’s fi­nances,” he said.

JUNE

CA­REER fire­fight­ers from the Suc­cess fire sta­tion were told they would not be asked to re­turn to the sta­tion, with Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices Com­mis­sioner Wayne Greg­son say­ing the cause of can­cer cases there may never be known. The Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices closed the sta­tion in Novem­ber, 2014, af­ter a fourth fire­fighter in six years was di­ag­nosed with kid­ney can­cer. In March, 2015, it was re­vealed en­vi­ron­men­tal test­ing had failed to find a link be­tween the site and the can­cer cases ex­pe­ri­enced by fire­fight­ers based there. That was fol­lowed up by an anal­y­sis of the work history of the fire­fight­ers, med­i­cal test­ing of fire­fight­ers who had an as­so­ci­a­tion with the sta­tion, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Depart­ment of Health, and a fol­low-up re­view of th­ese in­ves­ti­ga­tions by an in­de­pen­dent panel. But with no cause found, Mr Greg­son ruled out forc­ing fire­fight­ers to re­turn to the site. “I am ad­vised a cause is not likely to be found and we may never have an an­swer for why four fire­fight­ers from the one sta­tion have been di­ag­nosed with the same can­cer,” he said. “I have come to a de­ci­sion that I can­not in good con­science direct any fire­fighter to re­turn to the Ham­mond Road site.”

JULY

ACT­ING Trans­port Min­is­ter Bill Marmion an­nounced that con­di­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­proval for the 5.2km ex­ten­sion through Bi­bra Lakes wet­lands as part of Roe 8 had been backed by En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Al­bert Ja­cob. In Septem­ber 2013, the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Author­ity backed the ex­ten­sion link­ing Kwinana Free­way and Stock Road. More than 165 ap­peals were lodged against it. Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment, close to 700 peo­ple packed into the Fre­man­tle Town Hall to at­tend a fo­rum about the Perth Freight Link. City of Melville Mayor Rus­sell Aubrey ad­dressed the crowd – most of whom op­posed the ex­ten­sion – in sup­port of the plan, which he called an “act of de­fi­ance in the name of road safety for Melville.”

AU­GUST

GER­MAN in­dus­trial gi­ant ThyssenKru­pp Marine Sys­tems (TKMS) used a brief­ing in Hen­der­son to an­nounce it wants to build sub­marines in Aus­tralia. The com­pany is one of three in­ter­na­tion­als com­pet­ing for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s $20 bil­lion SEA 1000 Fu­ture Sub­ma­rine Project, with Ja­panese and French firms also in the run­ning. The new sub­marines will re­place the ag­ing Collins Class sub­marines. Dur­ing the brief­ing at the AMC Jack­ovich Cen­tre, TKMS Aus­tralia chair­man John White told lo­cal sup­pli­ers and fab­ri­ca­tors its pref­er­ence was to build Aus­tralia’s eight new sub­marines lo­cally, if it was an­nounced as the suc­cess­ful con­trac­tor. “Our pref­er­ence to get the best re­sults for the coun­try is to build all sub­marines in Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing the first one,” he said.

SEPTEM­BER

AN er­ror cal­cu­lat­ing rates forced the City of Cockburn i nto re­fund­ing $1.36 mil­lion. The City said an er­ror in­cor­po­rat­ing its waste man­age­ment fee had l ed to it over­billing more than 14,500 prop­er­ties with high gross rental val­ues. If rates had been paid and the re­fund was more than $50, a credit pay­ment was is­sued by the City. If it was l ess than $50, the money will be ap­plied as a credit to fu­ture rates. The City said there was no ef­fect on com­mer­cial, in­dus­trial, ru­ral or min­i­mum-rated prop­er­ties, or va­cant or unim­proved prop­er­ties.

OC­TO­BER

THE City of Fre­man­tle’s bid to ban plas­tic bags was all but over af­ter Par­lia­ment knocked back its lo­cal law for a sec­ond time. The City’s first at­tempt to get the Plas­tic Bag Lo­cal Law passed hit a snag in 2013 when the Joint Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Del­e­gated Leg­is­la­tion re­jected it be­cause of a clause that would have had re­tail­ers charge cus­tomers to take plas­tic bags. The clause was deleted and the law re­sub­mit­ted, but ear­lier this year North Met­ro­pol­i­tan MLC Peter Kat­sam­ba­nis put for­ward a mo­tion of dis­al­lowance to again block the law. Mr Kat­sam­ba­nis said North Fre­man­tle res­i­dents and busi­nesses had ap­proached him op­pos­ing the new law, but he de­clined to elab­o­rate on which busi­nesses, say­ing they feared reprisal from

the City of Fre­man­tle.

NOVEM­BER

AP­PLE­CROSS res­i­dent Stephen Langford was named WA’s Lo­cal Hero for his work dur­ing a 32year ca­reer with the Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice. Since join­ing the Jan­dakot-based RFDS in 1983, Dr Langford has worked to in­tro­duce a range of in­no­va­tions, trans­form­ing the med­i­cal ser­vice into a ver­ti­cally in­te­grated, sin­gle statewide ser­vice pro­vid­ing both rou­tine and emer­gency care from five bases across WA. He also re­cently started over­see­ing two univer­sity-level cour­ses in aeromed­i­cal re­trieval for RFDS doc­tors and flight nurses.

DE­CEM­BER

RES­I­DENTS of Al­fred Cove and its sur­round­ing sub­urbs faced an out­break of Aus­tralia’s worst fruit pest. The dis­cov­ery of six male queens­land fruit flies (Qflies) in Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Food sur­veil­lance traps sparked a min­i­mum 12-week ban on the move­ment of non-com­mer­cial fruit and veg­eta­bles, in­clud­ing those that are home-grown. Qflies lay eggs in more than 200 dif­fer­ent species of fruit and veg­etable – far more than the com­mon mediter­ranean fruit fly – in­clud­ing av­o­ca­dos, toma­toes, chilli, egg­plants, pas­sion­fruits, cap­sicums and straw­ber­ries. Depart­ment se­nior en­to­mol­o­gist Dr Darryl Hardie said a swift and co-or­di­nated re­sponse should con­tain the out­break but still ex­pected the op­er­a­tion to cost at least $100,000-$200,000.

Www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d430967

Chap­lain Meng Chan with pre-pri­mary stu­dents Sadie Kirk and Wil­liam Mon­son.

Top: Dr Stephen Langford pic­tured with a Royal Fly­ing Doc­tors Ser­vice plane at RFDS in Jan­dakot. Right: Dr John White, chair­man of ThyssenKru­pp Ma rine Sys­tems.

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