Cycling on footpaths was made legal in WA last week and the government agreed to increase the number of dedicated bike paths after two cyclists were hit and killed by cars in Perth on the same day last month. Previously only children under 12 were allowed to ride on footpaths but the new rules apply to all cyclists. All other states now allow adults to ride on footpaths except Victoria and New South Wales, which restrict the right to children under 12 and accompanying adults.
150 people rallied at the Stirling Gardens and then marched through the streets of Perth in protest against ongoing Black deaths in custody in Australia.
"Cool fuel" was the groovy title of the Ed! supplement about natural gas in the April 5 edition of The West Australian that gets distributed to all our schools. To be sure natural gas is "cool" when liquefied. But nowhere among the topics covered, such as "Careers in LNG", "Power to You" and "West is best" is there any mention of natural gas as a significant contributor to catastrophic global warming. Nor does it mention that because of fugitive emissions in the production cycle natural gas is up there with coal as a carbon polluter.
A broad coalition of forces continues to challenge anti-protest legislation tabled in the Western Australian state parliament. If passed, the broad powers of the Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill will make it a criminal offence to be in possession of an unnamed “thing” or to disrupt "lawful activities". The bill also threatens two year’s jail and $24,000 fines for impeding lawful activity. Widely criticised by environmental, social justice, and legal campaigners the law smashes free speech and criminalises peaceful protest.
Women from the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) organised a "Mad F**king Witches" action to highlight the intolerable levels of sexual assault in Australian immigration detention centres and to call for freedom for refugees and the sacking of minister Peter Dutton. "Silence on Nauru rapes makes us #MadFuckingWitches," says RRAN activist Michelle Bui.
The Perth Freight Link (PFL) project ground to a halt on December 16 when Supreme Court Chief Justice Wayne Martin ruled environmental approvals for the Roe 8 freeway through the Beeliar Wetlands were invalid. Incredibly, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) had argued it was not bound by its own policy when assessing and granting approval. This result comes on top of a 2013 decision that the EPA had bungled approvals for the James Price Point gas processing facility.
The administration of the University of Western Australia has announced that the university will be sacking 300 staff in the new year.
Over the last 18 months there has been a flurry of editorials and full page opinion pieces in Perth's only daily newspaper, The West Australian, demanding the state government keep its promise to build light rail to Mirabooka and unfavourably comparing Perth's infamous car dependent urban sprawl to European cities. It even ran a "tale of two cities" special feature celebrating the decision by Vancouver in the 1970s not to allow freeways into its inner city.