Matthew Hanssen, the Liberal candidate for Fremantle, started his speech at the freo debate last night with a whinge about how ‘tired’ he is of Fremantle – citing various complaints for which he lays blame entirely with the council. This seems to be the sole platform of his campaign.
However, he entirely fails to suggest anything he has done, or would do to address these issues that he raises.
He fails to mention anything that his party’s government has done, or would do to address these concerns.
And he fails to acknowledge any of the initiatives and actions that the council has done and is actually doing to address the issues raised. While not everyone will like everything the council has done, it is simply untrue to say we are doing nothing, for example:
– the redevelopment of Kings Square that is now underway (an architectural design competition is now open and the business plan has been signed off)
– free 1 hour parking, free short term street parking in shopping precincts and less restrictive nighttime parking fees
– a substantial increase in funding and support for local arts, festivals and community events, including the new very successful Hidden Treasures festival, the percentage for arts scheme and the bathers beach night markets
– penalties for landlords who leave CBD properties vacant for long periods unnecessarily
– working with the business community to form (and funding) the Business Improvement District
– the scheme amendment to spark renewal in the CBD (noting that only two sites could go up to 10 stories high, & across only a fraction of the site)
– working actively and constructively with the Dockers & Norte Dame on the Stan Riley site (only to have the liberal state government undoing the work by indicating financial support for facilities to be built in Cockburn instead!)
– working with the Port toward a community supported Victoria Quay redevelopment
– working with the Fremantle Union (state transport and planning departments) on the redesign of the entry to Fremantle from the train station.
I could go on…
Meanwhile, when Matthew Hanssen was asked if he would have the ear of his Liberal government colleague Troy Buswell if elected, he answered “no”!
Later, when asked about climate change, he conceded that “the environment is an issue”…
When asked about housing affordability he said “housing is an issue” and that “more people should be able to afford to buy a house in Fremantle”… could the man be more out of touch???
Realistically, Matthew Hanssen is what we call a “cardboard candidate” – he’s not a contender, but a name on the ballot paper and that is all. It’s just a pity he opens his mouth to speak occasionally since he offers Fremantle nothing but fuel for spiteful negativity that appeals to a few in the community.
I look forward to the election being over so that I stop seeing his face strung up (on vacant buildings and empty blocks) all over town and we can get on with the business of improving Freo constructively and collaboratively!