LETTERS 6.12.14

12. 859LETTERSWiped out, overnight
I WRITE on behalf of the Italo-Australian Welfare & Cultural Centre Inc (IAWCC) in response to “Language shake-up,” (Voice, November 29, 2014).
For 36 years the IAWCC has run its community language program for Italian in both mainstream schooling and after-hour school programs. Throughout this period, the IAWCC has strictly adhered to all funding guidelines available to all community languages schools. More than 22,000 students currently have access to this program and it is one of the most significant languages programs in Australia.
Contrary to the disappointing perceptions stated by Minister Nahan in your article, the IAWCC does not “hire” teachers, but actually “employs” its teachers. Further to the 790,000 contribution it receives for this program from the state government, the IAWCC contributes an equal amount, if not more, on an annual basis thanks to the assistance primarily by the Italian government, the Catholic education office through its commonwealth government allocation of funding and the Italian community through the IAWCC.
The IAWCC commends the “intent” to provide more monies for all community languages and to seek parity at a national level. However, to do so by deliberately targeting and punishing the IAWCC’s quality program is totally disrespectful to the Italian community, to the Italian government and to the 22,000 plus students (of which 95 per cent are of non-Italian origin) who may no longer have access to the Italian language, let alone another language.
Thirty-six years of genuine investment in a quality program literally wiped out overnight!
What explanation does the IAWCC give to its students, to their parents and grandparents and to its 80-plus loyal and dedicated teachers who may find themselves without employment as a result of this incredulous and damaging decision?
The IAWCC and the Italian community appeals to all members of the state government to allow common-sense to prevail, and to respect the 36-year investment by all concerned for the benefit of all Western Australians, not just those of Italian origin.
Enzo Sirna AM
President, Italo-Australian Welfare & Cultural Centre Inc

Manna must move
AFTER witnessing violence, assault and abuse once more, from my balcony overlooking Weld Park, I felt compelled to write this letter.
I have been a resident of an apartment overlooking Weld Square, the park that edges onto Beaufort and Parry Street, for two years now. Over this time I have seen the neighbourhood start to transform into an exciting residential hub.
There is however one ongoing tarnish to this area, which seems continue to spiral hopelessly out of control for the past two years, and that is the public meals provided to homeless people by Manna Inc.
Manna takes no responsibility for the security of the park before and after it provides meals, leaving local residents to clean up the mess of violence, anti-social behaviour and, not to forget, the litter left behind from the meals.
Today I saw a man beaten by an Aboriginal man who then tried to steal the first man’s dog. Surrounding residents went to the victim’s assistance, bringing golf sticks and weapons in order to protect themselves and the man under repeated attack. This type of anti-social behaviour, which is a repetitive scene, can no longer be tolerated in this area. This type of anti-social behaviour is beginning to sprout racial intolerance. This type of anti-social behaviour needs to be proactively removed.
While I support the overall intention of Manna Inc’s work, it needs to take more accountability for the direct impact its service is having on the residents of this area. This area is not an area under the poverty line; ratepayers are paying high taxes in order to enjoy an inner-suburban lifestyle. However, residents are scared to walk through their own park at different times of the day (let alone the night). Our personal safety is at risk.
Manna Inc. openly admits it is drawing homeless people, people with mental illness and addiction to the area, even having to buy a truck to “protect [its people] from druggies” (Voice, August 14, 2014). What protections are put in place to protect residents of the surrounding area when they pack up and drive away, leaving this disadvantaged crowd in our neighbourhood?
I know this issue has been raised in the past; the service was meant to relocate. Vincent council needs to force this issue into a resolution. Failing to act is leaving this park and residents with an irreparable damage to the neighbourhood’s reputation; a terrible legacy for Vincent to pass on to the City of Perth through the local government amalgamations.
I urge the council to act, or for Manna Inc. to reassess its impact on this area, before the voice and intolerance of the local residents builds and a negative situation is brought before the council and Manna Inc.
Brayden Wardrop
Stirling St, Perth

What policy?
THE story “Falling branches doom Maylands mahogany” (Voice November 29, 2014) serves to highlight the failure of the City of Bayswater to exercise consistent and fact-based control over trees in its jurisdiction.
It has been my experience that implementation of what was described to me as city policy seemed to depend on whim and fancy for, according to an FOI document in my possession, the city does not have an accepted tree policy.
In your report it was suggested that assessments of subject or suspect trees might be obtained from an independent arborist before action is taken, and that seems entirely appropriate.
However, that might be a real challenge for the city for it apparently believes an independent arborist can be one who is a contracted employee and one who is in receipt of frequent and quite significant payments the employer.
By the way, Mr Editor, I can make available those assessments made by that so-called independent arborist: it is in my possession because I obtained it through another FOI application.
You might care to offer an opinion in regard to its professionalism, its reliability and its accuracy. Apparently though the city paid good ratepayers’ money for it.
Vince McCudden
Almondbury St, Bayswater

Peddling fiction?
MISLEADING information is presented as fact (Voice Mail, November 29, 2014).
S Cruden says cyclists “are paying nothing towards road use”—in fact motorists are equally paying nothing because roads are paid for by taxpayers.
Rego fee go towards hospital insurance for victims of crashes. Arguably, the cyclists are more likely subsiding the cars.
However, I agree with S Cruden’s sentiments—roads should be user-pays, therefore perhaps only people with taxable incomes over $80,000 should be allowed to drive cars. This approach would solve all congestion problems overnight, and encourage unemployed people to get jobs.
Ben G Host
Mary St, Highgate

12. 859LETTERS 2

Piazza spot is hardly supreme
I SHARE the concerns of those who’ve expressed concern about the Mary Street Piazza and believe full consultation did not take place.
I wrote to Vincent city council agreeing with the concept but not the location. My concerns was the impact on the school drop off zone at Sacred Heart primary school and the knock-on effect on Harold Street.
At no time was I aware other locations were being considered. Surely proper and full consultation should include full details of all the proposed locations? Now I am aware Barlee Street was an option, I strongly believe that is the best option.
To create a vibrant Beaufort Street, the activity should be spread over the entire area, not just concentrated in one area.  The area around Mary Street has shade and outdoor activity (The Queens, Two Fat Indians, Must, il Publico, Mary Street Bakery, Elmars, The Merchant) all have outdoor seating.
Locating the piazza at the end of Barlee Street supports the business in that area and the edge of the car park can be utilised. I encourage all residents to not give up and lobby our council to look at a better location.
M Cropley
Mt Lawley

The devil came down to Vincent
THE recent reactions of some local councils that had until now supported the state government’s so-called reform process, upon realising that they haven’t quite got what they wanted, comes as no surprise to many of us.
The saying, “he who sups with the devil should use a long spoon” means one should be very cautious when dealing with dangerous or untrustworthy persons.
It was never more apt than for the City of Bayswater, which has consistently been enthusiastic about so-called local government reform, but now finds itself in the position of trying to defend the rights of 1500 of its residents to remain in Bayswater instead of going to Swan.
At the same time, perhaps Bayswater should reflect on the even larger number of Stirling residents being told that, like it or not, they will be living in Bayswater from mid-2015 as a result of the Bayswater proposal.
One could say the same about Vincent’s “one-in, all-in” campaign that clearly opened the door to a merger with Perth, despite the clearly-expressed view of 77 per cent of those who voted for Vincent to remain as it is.
We are now faced with a merger-cum-gerrymander that goes beyond our wildest nightmares and Vincent council is forced into the position of having to run yet another campaign on the scale of the “one-in, all-in”.
The (non-religious) devil put temptation in the way of local councils that sought to aggrandise themselves and some duly sold their souls in a Faustian pact. Now the devil is calling in the price.
Ian Ker
Mt Lawley

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