By Tracie Aylmer
On Thursday 12 January 2017 I went to a protest in order to protect the Beeliar Wetlands. There were around 1000 of us, all acting peacefully and inclusively. We all welcomed each other, no matter what background we came from.
There were nurses, doctors, lawyers, lecturers, elderly, children, mothers, fathers, truck drivers, Indigenous protectors and advocates from far and wide. We had no gripe against the police that aggressively attacked us. We did not fight back against them, other than to pull down a temporary fence. I very much doubt the fence would have felt anything.
The media has us as rabid, raving lunatics. If the media only understood all of the reasons why we were there in our own time for free, then perhaps this farce of a ‘development’ would not go ahead. In fact, most of the community are against the Roe 8 project, but many would not know it if they only saw what the media showed them.
Colin Barnett keeps saying that trucks would get off the road if a road was built. How? This is not even logically possible. In fact, more trucks would go on the road as the road would be available. Once the toll was on the road, then obviously the trucks would use back streets, similar to what happened when the M4 in Sydney was built. I remember being in traffic for one and a half hours going to work and one and a half hours come back home from work, just to miss the tollways. My work was around 45 minutes away without peak hour traffic to slow me down. This is what Colin Barnett is advocating for – all streets outside of the tollways being clogged up during peak hour traffic. Since Perth already has a traffic problem, creating more traffic problems obviously does not make any sense whatsoever.
He says there is no other option, than destroying the only Wetlands that Western Australia has. He has targeted the Wetlands first, in order to demolish the wildlife. He has gone over and above his own policies, thereby negating all policies within all departments, in order to try to destroy the community.
This road was supposed to stop quite a distance away from Fremantle Port, which he has decided must be privatised. It doesn’t even get to the Port, and Colin Barnett has no idea even now how it is to reach the Port. The $1.8 billion price ticket doesn’t even include how this road is meant to get to the Port. Obviously, there is going to be an incredible budget blowout, similarly to the Sydney M4 and the Brisbane Clem 7. This budget blowout has not been allocated for by any authority whatsoever. It will happen, and it will put WA in even further debt than Barnett’s complete recent mismanagement of our mining boom.
Not only is this a road to nowhere, it is a road without vision. The only real winners are Barnett’s development mates, and possibly Barnett himself. There are rumours that he has a philosophy of ‘you scratch my back and I will scratch yours’. While I cannot comment further on this, it appears obvious that he is profiting somehow from WA’s dilemmas.
There is also another option. Not only will it be more efficient, but it will provide for thousands more jobs and give us more desperately needed trade. Since Fremantle Port is already nearing capacity, having another port will give WA the kickstart it needs to create a different type of boom. It will put more trucks on the road in a different area, thereby ensuring the trucking industry remains alive and well. It will save our Wetlands. It will give vision to a state that desperately needs it.
The community near the Outer Harbour have advised that they are desperate for Kwinana to open up. There is high unemployment in the area, and the tens of thousands of jobs in that area are much more needed than the over capacity Fremantle Port. Both communities want the Outer Harbour to exist. Much of the framework has already been completed for the Outer Harbour. All sides of politics knows it’s only a matter of time before it does exist.
Why is Colin Barnett wasting so much money on something that highly likely won’t occur anyway? His fanaticism simply does not make any sense whatsoever.
If he thinks behaving in this manner is going to give him a name that will last in his final months as Premier, he is sadly mistaken. We will make absolute sure that what has already been lost of the Wetlands can be reinstated, and that the whole project will not in its majority occur. We are very determined to keep our Wetlands. We will also be determined to make sure that his name is relegated to a footnote in our history books as one of the worst Premiers that WA has ever had.
There is an election in less than two months. As Colin Barnett is illogical, he is also unfit to remain as our Premier. Let’s kick him out. He deserves nothing less for this fiasco.
Tracie Aylmer – Tracie is an advocate who enjoys writing about social justice issues. From working in most facets of office work as a professional temporary for several years, to completing a postgraduate law degree and then to researching and writing about social justice, she has been a Jill of many trades. She is the most well known for writing a submission as well as the Immigration Department manuals and guidelines to the International Criminal Court, calling for the arrest of several politicians due to their crimes against humanity, as well as getting some pretty great results from the ICC.