Sam Wainwright lives in O’Connor with his partner Janet. He is a disability support worker and councillor at the City of Fremantle. Before that he was a wharfie for over 12 years and is making opposition to the McGowan government’s proposed closure of Fremantle Port one his campaign priorities.
He explained, “There is simply not the evidence to justify closing Fremantle Port. Meanwhile significant costs associated with doing this have been excluded or played down. These include the value of the existing publicly owned asset and the greenhouse gas emissions embedded in it, job losses in Fremantle and the environmental destruction of Cockburn Sound. We should also be very wary that a new container port while notionally publicly owned would be built as a public-private partnership and effectively privatised via a long term lease.”
Sam added, “Even though there is plenty of capacity at Fremantle Port the state government is justifying its plan based on the assumption that the volume of container traffic and per capita consumption of imported goods will increase nearly three-fold in just five decades. This is a deranged fantasy. If the world continues on anything like that quest for endless growth you can be certain that all the thresholds for runaway climate change will have been crossed triggering civilisational collapse, in which case we won’t need any port at all”.
Sam continued, “The utter recklessness of the McGowan government regarding climate change is also seen in its complete subservience to the oil and gas industry, opening up new fossil fuel reserves and hastening complete catastrophe. There should be absolutely no new fossil projects opened up at all, let alone really grubby ones like fracking, and all existing projects must provide 100% carbon offsets in a phase out period. Our call is for WA to reach net zero emissions within ten years. Yes that means a profound reorientation of our economy, but that’s what the planet requires."
Passionate about sustainable transport Sam is a founder of the Fremantle Bicycle Users Group and Fremantle Road to Rail. He said, “The biggest contributor to congestion around Fremantle is not freight to the port but the increase in private motor traffic and yet the state government has no plans for significant new public transport infrastructure anywhere south of the river and west of the Kwinana Freeway. It’s the very failure to do this that causes some people to get sucked into the Liberals’ claims about Roe 8. We don’t need Roe 8, new freeways or a new container port. What we need is serious investment in sustainable transport. In our region that means rapid transit connecting Fremantle to Murdoch and Cockburn and getting more freight on rail.”
Sam is proud to be part of Fremantle council and its contribution to opening up an honest discussion about the significance of January 26 for Indigenous Australia and the country’s history. However he added, “This is barely the beginning, we need reconciliation based on a treaty with real land rights. It’s an honour to support our lead candidate for South Metropolitan Marianne Mackay in that fight for justice.”