$1.25million for Fremantle Primary School upgrade

After tireless campaigning by the Fremantle Primary School P&C the school has been given $1.25million to upgrade their undercover area, canteen and the cleaner’s and gardener’s storage area.

Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk said it was a win for the school community and shows that persistence and perseverance pays off.

Works on a toilet upgrade on site revealed that D Block at Fremantle Primary School was structurally unsafe, and required demolition.

Over Christmas last year the D Block was demolished but that meant the school was left with no canteen, toilets, gardeners shed, cleaners store or storage. The whole exercise has caused significant upheaval for the school this year.

The undercover area at the school also did not provide sufficient weather protection for the kids and needed to be made secure.

Since then the Fremantle P&C has been negotiating with the Education Department to get the best outcome for the school.

The State member for Fremantle, Simone McGurk, worked with the P&C to lobby the Minister to get decent funds to the 110 year-old school. At one stage, over eighty parents and children met to hold up a “Funds for Freo PS” message which was photographed and sent to the Minster.

The school community felt Fremantle Primary School had been neglected for a long time by the State Government. Last year, the school lost most of its play equipment which was found to be unsafe, and the P&C had no option but to raise money for new equipment.

Quotes from Simone McGurk Member for Fremantle:

“This is a great win for the Fremantle Primary School community,” Ms McGurk said.

“The Fremantle P&C and the school community should feel very proud of what they have been able to achieve in securing funds for this essential upgrade to their undercover area.

“The can-do attitude of the Fremantle Primary School parents is a great example of what can be achieved when a school community comes together.”

Fremantle commuters hit with train station parking fee

Fast facts:

  • Paid parking at all metropolitan train stations starts today. This will cost the average commuter $460 extra a year
  • Fremantle commuters parking at North Fremantle train station will be charged $2 a day
  • Fremantle train station commuters will have to use their SmartRiders to pay for parking.
  • The Barnett Government has introduced parking fees at all metropolitan train stations with Fremantle commuters charged $2 a day to park at train station car parks.

Fremantle residents that drive to North Fremantle train station to take advantage of the free parking will now be slugged an extra fee for using public transport.

Motorcyclists will also be charged $2 a day.

Fremantle train station already charges for parking but those parking at Fremantle will now need to use their SmartRiders to pay for parking.

Fremantle commuters will have to tag on to a Transperth bus or train on the same day they tag on to park or they won’t be able to use the system next time.

Fares are also rising for public transport users, a regular ticket to travel two zones will cost $4.40, an increase of 4.8 per cent and with a SmartRider, it will cost $3.30, also a 4.8 per cent increase.

This will increase cost-of-living pressures on public transport users, and WA Labor has launched a campaign to oppose it.

7,500 people sign a petition to save the Fly

Fast facts

  • 7,500 music lovers have signed a petition to save the Fly by Night Musicians Club in Fremantle
  • Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk will be tabling the petition in State Parliament
  • The Premier should support the Fly in its bid to stay at its current venue.
  • Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk and WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan are calling on the Premier to intervene to ensure the Fly By Night Musicians Club remains at its current venue.

The call comes after the National Trust announced today that it had entered lease negotiations with Sunset Events, effectively leaving Fly By Night to look for new premises.

More than 7,500 people have signed the petition that calls on the Government to actively support the Fly in its current form and ensure it remains part of the vibrant Fremantle arts community.

The Fly By Night Musicians Club is a not-for-profit arts venue that has been operating in Fremantle for almost 30 years.

It regularly hosts well-known local, national and international bands and is a stepping stone for many local acts.

The uncertainty around the future of the Fly has meant the Fly has not been able to forward plan and book acts in advance.

Comments from Simone McGurk Member for Fremantle:

“I’m very disappointed that the Fly By Night Musicians Club’s lease at the iconic Drill Hall appears to be ending.

“This is the time for the Premier to intervene and ensure that the Fly can continue to stay at its current location.

“Over 7,500 signatures is a clear indication of how important this not-for-profit arts organisation is in Fremantle.

“The petition was signed by music lovers all across Perth, who all want the Fly to remain in its current form and at its current venue.

“The Premier has acknowledged that this is a popular venue which has given a lot of young artists their first opportunity to perform. As the owner of the building, the Premier needs to come out and make clear to the National Trust that the Fly should be supported.

“We need venues that will give access to emerging musicians if we are serious about nurturing home grown talent. I seriously doubt the capacity of a purely commercial venue to deliver on that front.”

Comments from WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan:

“Not only has the Fly been an incubator of WA music talent, it has a strong community focus as well. There are countless school kids who have had their first experience performing on stage at the Fly.

“There has been a steady demise of music venues in Fremantle and Perth, and I believe the State Government should be supporting, not hindering the arts in WA.”

Keep the Fly!

The Fly By Night Musicians Club is a not-for-profit arts venue which has been a successful and popular part of the arts community in Fremantle and Western Australia for almost 30 years. It was regularly hosts well-known local, national and international acts, and it has been a stepping stone for many acts such as Tame Impala, John Butler Trio, Eskimo Joe, The Waifs, Matt Corby, that are now household names.

Recently the National Trust, as manager of the Club’s home, the heritage-listed Drill Hall, put the lease out to tender. Despite the Fly By Night Musicians Club expressing in 2013 that it wished to continue the lease, the National Trust requested that no more events be booked beyond September 2014.

High Street upgrade plans thrown into disarray

Fast Facts:

  • Abbott Government’s Perth Freight Link project throws original upgrade plans for High Street-Stirling Highway intersection into disarray.
  • It appears that the proposal for a massive trench along High Street is back on the State Government books.
  • State Government must come clean about what they are planning.
  • The Federal Government’s ‘Perth Freight Link’ project has thrown the planned upgrade of the intersection of Stirling Highway and High Street in Fremantle into disarray.

New figures reveal the cost of the upgrade may be three times more than originally announced.

Fremantle Labor MP Simone McGurk has called on the Barnett Liberal Government to come clean on their plans for the upgrade.

“It appears that Fremantle residents may get an entirely different upgrade to the one that has been discussed over the last two years.” Ms McGurk said.

“The massive increase in costs suggests that the Government is planning to build an enormous trench alongside High Street from Marmion Street through to Carrington Street.

This idea was considered in the early consultations but ruled out in 2009 on cost grounds.

The proposal would have seen a trench commencing on Stirling Highway after Stirling Bridge and then travelling under Marmion Street and the High Street intersection.

The trench then continues through part of the golf course and eventually comes back on to Leach Highway after travelling under Carrington Street.

Ms McGurk said based on information provided at the recent Commonwealth estimates hearing the State and Federal Government are now planning to spend around $380 million on this section of the road upgrade.

“The Government needs to explain why they want to spend so much money on this project when traffic volumes will be reduced significantly once a new outer harbour opens,” she said.

“Getting more freight on to rail, reducing the number of trucks travelling to and from the Port empty and developing a new container port are the most cost effective solutions to manage traffic in this area.

“Incredibly, both state and federal Liberal governments are looking to pour millions of dollars into this six lane highway which then funnels into four lanes at Stirling Bridge and Tydeman Road. It will be gridlock madness.

“The Fremantle community has engaged in consultation in good faith with the State Government over last two years. If they are throwing all this out and going back to the big trench proposal they should come clean.” Ms McGurk said.

“The Fremantle community deserves to know about the latest plans for these intersections, and it needs to be able to have a say in the project,” she added.

Chaos when Fremantle’s Emergency Department closes

Fast Facts:

  • Fremantle’s Emergency Department will close on the 3rd of February 2015, the same day Fiona Stanley Hospital’s Emergency Department will open.
  • Kaleeya Hospital will close on the 2nd of December 2014.
  • Fremantle Hospital’s Emergency Department will close on 3rd of February next year, the same day Fiona Stanley Hospital’s Emergency Department will open.

A government memo says Fiona Stanley Hospital will open its Emergency Department at 7am on the 3rd of February at the same time as Fremantle Hospital’s Emergency Department closes.

On this day, patients in the Fremantle Hospital Emergency Department will be continually transferred to Fiona Stanley Hospital, admitted to Fremantle Hospital or discharged throughout the day.

The memo says Fremantle Hospital will be an ’empty space’ by the day’s end. This transition for patients in Fremantle and the southern suburbs will be chaotic.

Remodelling of the Emergency Department space will commence shortly after and Fremantle Hospital will transition from a 450 bed tertiary hospital to a 300 bed specialist hospital.

“I believe there is a strong argument for an Emergency facility to be retained at Fremantle Hospital,” State Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk said.

“WA Labor went to the last state election committing to retain an emergency facility at Fremantle Hospital,” Ms McGurk said.

“A lot of the community don’t realise Fremantle is losing this crucial service. We are in the centre of an entertainment precinct and to a working port. An emergency medical facility is essential.

On 17 November 2014, Kaleeya Hospital will begin transferring its services to Fiona Stanley and Fremantle Hospitals.

Kaleeya’s 24 bed ward will close in November this year and on 2 December 2014, all maternity; neonates and gynaecological services will close.

The care arrangements in place for pregnant women who are currently under care at Kaleeya are unclear.

Schools meeting leaves Freo parents feeling disappointed

Fast Facts:

  • Premier and Education Minister failed to provide answers during 90-minute community meeting.
  • Parents left meeting without a sense of direction on school amalgamations.
  • Not a cent of the $40 million required for school amalgamations in State Budget.
  • Fremantle parents were left feeling disappointed and none the wiser after a community consultation meeting on Fremantle school amalgamations with Premier Colin Barnett and Education Minister Peter Collier.

Fremantle Labor MP Simone McGurk said the 90-minute meeting did little to ease parents’ concerns and many questions remained unanswered.

“It was quite remarkable for the Premier and the Education Minister to front the Fremantle community and offer no real answers to the questions parents posed.

“Parents rightfully expected a sense of clarity and direction as to how school amalgamations would proceed, and how the Government would deliver on improved subject selection, but they were left none the wiser after the meeting,” she said.

In response to a question from Ms McGurk, the Premier admitted that more than $40 million would be required to amalgamate Fremantle schools, but not a cent had been allocated in the recent Budget or in the forward estimates.

“This Government has absolutely no plan on how they will fund this process, and that leaves Fremantle parents and students uncertain about the future.

“They are entitled to an iron-clad commitment from the Minister that local schools will receive the resources they need.”

Ms McGurk said there was strong community support and logic for a Gifted and Talented Extension (GATE) academic excellence program to be part of the newly formed school.

“Including an academic excellence program as part of the new school makes sense on a lot of fronts.

“It would bring a strong cohort into the new school, boost student numbers and enhance subject selection,” she said.

“Once again we are seeing the Government scrimping on public schools, leaving local parents and students with a high level of uncertainty about what will happen to this crucial area of their local community,” Ms McGurk said.

“It is absolutely essential that this Government realises that the Fremantle community is demanding that any change to secondary schooling in Fremantle is greater than the sum of its parts,” Ms McGurk said.

Government must provide resources and certainty for Freo schools

Fast Facts:

  • Chaotic amalgamations process has created high level of uncertainty for Fremantle parents and students
  • Schools must be adequately resourced
  • No money allocated for school amalgamations in State Budget
  • Fremantle Labor MP Simone McGurk has called on the State Liberal Government to ensure that Fremantle high schools are adequately resourced, ahead of a community meeting with Premier Colin Barnett and Education Minister Peter Collier tonight.

“Fremantle students and parents have been justifiably unsettled regarding high school amalgamations since the Education Minister Peter Collier announced them last year,” Ms McGurk said.

“The least they should be able to expect is an iron-clad commitment from the Minister that local schools will receive the resources they need.”

Ms McGurk said there was strong community support and logic for a Gifted and Talented Extension (GATE) academic excellence program to be part of the newly formed school.

“Including an academic excellence program as part of the new school makes sense on a lot of fronts.

“It would bring a strong cohort into the new school, boost student numbers and enhance subject selection,” she said.

Ms McGurk also called on the Government to allocate the required resources for the amalgamations process, after Planning Minister John Day admitted in Budget Estimates that school amalgamations were not cost-neutral.

“The State Government has allocated no funds for school amalgamations in the Budget, so it needs to come clean on how it intends to fund it.

“Schools are already struggling under the massive funding cuts to education.

Once again we are seeing the Government scrimping on public schools, leaving local parents and students with a high level of uncertainty about what will happen to this crucial area of their local community,” Ms McGurk said.

“It is absolutely essential that this Government realises that the Fremantle community is demanding that any change to secondary schooling in Fremantle is greater than the sum of its parts,” Ms McGurk said.

Call for Fremantle grave to be heritage listed

Fast Facts:

  • Graves and cremation plaques of seven Western Australian Victoria Cross recipients are not heritage listed, including one at the Fremantle Cemetery;
  • The burial rights have expired, meaning without heritage protection these graves could be in jeopardy in the future;
  • As part of the Centenary of ANZAC, the burial places should be protected.
  • WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan has called for seven graves and cremation plaques of Victoria Cross recipients to be placed on the Heritage Register as part of the Centenary of ANZAC.

Ensuring the graves and cremation plaques of seven VC recipients located in Western Australian cemeteries are appropriately recognised and heritage protected should be prioritised.

Leonard Henry Trent was a Group Captain in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and was awarded a Victoria Cross. His grave at Fremantle Cemetery is not listed on the State Heritage Register.

Captain of the 10th Light Horse Regiment, Second Lieutenant Hugo Throssell VC, received his Victoria Cross for exceptional bravery at Gallipoli. Suffering from what was clearly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he committed suicide in 1933. His grave at Karrakatta Cemetery is not listed on the State Heritage Register.

Other deceased VC recipients in Western Australia cemeteries include:

Private Martin O’Meara VC – Died 20 December 1935
Private James Wood VC – Died 18 January 1963
Lance Corporal Thomas Axford VC – Died 11 October 1983
Private John Carroll VC – Died 4 October 1971
Private James Gordon VC – 19 July 1986
Private Leslie Starcevich VC – 17 November 1989
Comments from WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan:

“It is disappointing to learn that the graves and plaques of our VC heroes are not properly protected under our heritage laws.

“As we approach the Centenary of ANZAC, I am calling on the Government to recognise the significance of these burial sites and ensure these men are remembered for generations.”

Comments from Simone McGurk MLA:

“Bon Scott’s plaque in Fremantle cemetery is rightly heritage protected; our war heroes should also be recognised.

“Leonard Henry Trent was awarded a Victoria Cross for his efforts during WWII. He was a Group Captain in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

“Mr Trent died in May 1985 and his grave is located at the Fremantle Cemetery. The ANZAC centenary is an opportunity to give proper recognition to his resting place.”

Barnett’s bandaid not enough for Fremantle’s Warders’ Cottages

Fast facts:

  • The Warders’ Cottages, built in the 1850s, are among the country’s oldest continuous terraces
  • The historic cottages have been empty for nearly three years since the Barnett Government evicted the tenants
  • Today’s announcement is an empty commitment for heritage and for Fremantle
  • The Barnett Government’s announcement of $2million towards Fremantle’s iconic Warders’ Cottages is an empty commitment that will be spent on maintenance work that is long overdue
  • Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk said the 18 Warders’ Cottages have been left to rot by the Barnett Government since 2011 when public housing tenants were evicted from the cottages

They have since been left to crumble and are an eye sore in the centre of Fremantle.

Ms McGurk said today’s announcement for a feasibility study and ‘de-risking’ or Minister’s speak for maintenance work of the Warders’ Cottages is money that should have been spent in 2011.

The announcement is part of a $4million revolving heritage fund, which falls well short of the $8million promised by the Liberal’s before the 2013 State election.

Earlier this year Ms McGurk launched a petition demanding that the Barnett Government take action on the dilapidating Warders’ Cottages. 1000 people have signed the petition.

Lines from Simone McGurk MLA Member for Fremantle:

“These heritage treasures have been crumbling before our eyes for nearly three years.

“The Warder’s Cottages are an icon in Fremantle and questions still remain over their future.

“Today’s announcement is an empty announcement, with minimal funding allocated to restore the 18 cottages.

“We are custodians of these precious resources and we have a responsibility to protect them for future generations.

“This is another broken promise by the Premier, a bad outcome for heritage, and a bad outcome for Fremantle.”

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