Anger at possible Lake Jasper mine lease

Greens (WA) MLC for the South West, Diane Evers, has expressed anger and dismay at the possible approval for a mine at Lake Jasper, a sacred site near the D’Entrecasteaux National Park between Augusta and Walpole.

Ms Evers said the Government appeared to favour approving a lease to Strategic Energy Resources without apparent knowledge of the history of the site, nor any sort of community consultation.

“This sensitive and fragile lake system has been the focus of major social, cultural and environmental conflict since 1988, when the then WA state government decided to excise land from the park to facilitate exploration and a potential mine on the banks of the lake, which is WA’s largest permanent freshwater body,” she said.

“Various mining companies were unsuccessful in mining applications there, principally because of the presence of local acid sulphate soils that could contaminate the water as a result of mining activities.”
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Ms Evers said there had been no communication with local and indigenous communities, environmental groups, local tourism associations, Landcare groups or various other stakeholders about the resurfacing of this environmental issue.

A period of public consultation over the mine proposal was poorly publicised and as such received little input. It has now closed.

“In the 90s, the then Minister for Mines, Norman Moore, even promised that the excised land would be returned to its National Park tenure,” Ms Evers said.

“I will be pushing the current Minister for Mines, Bill Johnston, to return the lake into the national park precinct.”

Ms Evers urged concerned people to attend a community meeting at the Denmark Environment Centre next Monday to discuss action to prevent the mining from going ahead.

The meeting will consider all remedial options, including reopening the approval application process for comment, or stopping the process now.

The meeting will be held at 11am at the DEC on Monday, October 29.

A better route for Bunbury

Greens (WA) MLC for the South West, Diane Evers, has urged Bunbury region residents to provide feedback on the Bunbury Outer Ring Road (BORR) project.

The BORR is a key infrastructure project aimed at providing an alternative route for freight and general traffic around Bunbury.

Ms Evers said the BORR consists of three sections: the northern section between Forrest Highway and Boyanup Picton Road; the central section, which was completed in 2013 and connects Boyanup Picton Road and South Western Highway; and the southern section between South Western Highway and Bussell Highway.

“The preferred route for this section was chosen decades ago, before the area developed to its current stage,” Ms Evers said.

“Today, if that route is adhered to, it will bisect the Capel Shire community of Gelorup.

“Locals have approached me to say that splitting Gelorup with a dual lane highway straight through their community would cause serious environmental damage, destroying the habitat of the critically endangered Western Ringtail Possum, clearing large areas of forest, as well as causing considerable noise and disruption to closely positioned homes.”

Ms Evers said a better option would be to extend the BORR route further south to provide a ring road that would last for decades. She said the current proposed option at Gelorup goes through a developed area and will require a further outer ring road within years.

“According to the Main Roads website, an alternate route is being reviewed as it is required by the EPA,” she said.

“But this does not yet appear to be a serious consideration. With strong pressure from the community, maybe we can construct a longer term solution.”

Ms Evers said it was vital that the community urged the Main Roads Department to consider all possible options to produce the best possible outcome for the community.

She called on interested residents to attend the series of community information sessions about the progress of the project, being held by the Department within the next two weeks.

They will be held at:

  • Eaton Sports Club, Wednesday Oct 24, 4.30-7.30pm
  • Leschenault Leisure Centre, Thursday October 25, 4.30-7.30pm
  • Bunbury RSL, Tuesday October 30, 4.30-7.30pm
  • Gelorup Community Hall, Wednesday October 31, 4.30-7.30pm

Silvicultural practices

Extract from Hansard — Thursday, 11 October 2018

SILVICULTURAL AND AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES

Statement

HON DIANE EVERS (South West) [5.21 pm]: This morning, I had the opportunity to move a motion during non-government business.  It reads — That this house recognises the important role and enormous potential of forests and agriculture in taking carbon from the atmosphere to address the increasing need for action to slow the rate of climate change; and that this house calls for —

(1) An independent review of current forest silviculture practices and the role of silviculture in — (a) increasing forest resilience and increasing areas of healthy forest cover; (b) mitigating climate change; and (c) regenerating economic activity in the regions.

(2) An independent review of current agriculture practices and the role of soil microbiology in — (a) producing nutrient-rich food; (b) mitigating climate change; and (c) regenerating economic activity in the regions.

(3) A moratorium on new contracts for the supply of jarrah or karri sawlogs until the 2024–2033 forest management plan is written.

(4) A thorough review to ensure that all safeguards to protect the long-term viability and resilience of the remaining south west forests are in place prior to the renewal of the regional forest agreement.

It is not the Greens’ intention to end timber harvesting. We love wood just as much as everyone else, but the idea is to plant it and grow it in plantations where we intend to cut it.

The intention is that we will continue mining through Alcoa, Simcoa and others in that area. We will continue to get timber in that way. If we make good use of it through smaller mills, with more people involved, not only would we have more jobs, but we would get more usable timber from that resource.

But the interesting thing with forests that I wanted to go through is their role in fighting and mitigating climate change, in helping to keep the rain on the planet and in the soil, and in helping to make even more rain. They are vitally important and I really hope that we get a chance to look at that sometime soon.

I was thinking about forests and climate change, and the other side of the story is that our soil also provides us with a really strong opportunity to draw back down through the plants all these greenhouse gases that we are putting into the atmosphere. I sometimes doubt that either side of politics will ever address climate change and start to find ways to quickly reduce the amount of fossil fuels that we are burning, which is putting carbon back into the atmosphere.

Rather than fighting that side of it, perhaps we can fight it by taking carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it into the ground, and not by using some technologically new method when we have plants that do it naturally. We do not need a technological solution; the solution is right there in front of us.

The third point refers to contracts. We already have contracts with 36 different mills and we have contracts for hundreds and thousands of cubic metres of jarrah. Why enter into another contract now when we do not have the need for it, when it is not earning us any money and when it is not creating more jobs?

This is something that governments on both sides, again, have not done too well. It seems like most of the state agreements that I have seen go through this place are very one-sided and not in favour of the state. Something really needs to be done about the way in which we look at the contracts that we sign to make sure that we are signing them for the benefit of the residents of Western Australia.

The fourth point is about the Western Australian Regional Forest Agreement. There are 10 agreements across the country. One agreement in Tasmania has been renewed. In Victoria they are looking for further information about the five agreements there so that they can make sure that they will be doing the right thing. In New South Wales there are three more agreements and, again, they are laying down the renewal process because they want to make sure that they do the right thing.

Then there is the one agreement that we have here. In my book, we do not need this regional forest agreement because although it sounds like it was a good thing and it was made to support the environment, it was actually made to support the logging industry.

All it does is to allow those who are logging in this state to not have to go through the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to get approval, which means that the environment is hurt even more. If members can, they should keep this in mind.

There are many steps to this process, but it is for the good of Western Australians and it is for the good of the planet. Financially we will be a lot better off as well. That is three strikes, so it seems like the right thing to do. Thank you for your time.

Forest fight firms up

A strong turnout at last week’s Focused on Forests workshop went home invigorated with enthusiasm, vowing to maintain collaborative efforts to help protect WA forests.

The big crowd, consisting of seasoned campaigners and curious newcomers wanting to learn more about the future of our precious environment, discussed topics ranging from identification of High Conservation Value forests to organising campaigns to save them.

The event, held at Margaret River and organised by Greens (WA) forestry spokesperson Diane Evers, reconnected a community of forest enthusiasts, lovers and protectors, who spent much of the day brainstorming and coming up with strategies and ideas for future action.

“Our mission has been given fresh impetus,” Ms Evers said. “We have taken on board all the suggestions and will be liaising with all participants on their follow-up efforts to spread the word about preserving our jarrah, karri and tuart trees.

“Our city cousins need to understand the stresses our forests are under. With the ever-decreasing size and quality of our remaining resources, we must all play a part to see that the degradation stops. Forest resilience is rapidly diminishing, and 600-year-old trees are still being cut down.

“Perhaps more importantly, we need to maintain our rage against the Government, which has ignored two big petitions to stop logging the forests.”

Ms Evers said the community will not sit back and watch idly as old-growth timber continues to be targeted by the State-run Forest Products Commission, which has shown little regard for the consequences of its actions.

“Watch this space,” she said.

EversGreen: July-September ’18

FIGHTING FOR OUR FORESTS

In September we held a very successful workshop at Margaret River, aimed at re-energising the battle to protect our forests.

The big turnout, consisting of seasoned campaigners and curious newcomers wanting to learn more about the future of our precious environment, discussed topics ranging from identification of High Conservation Value forests to organising campaigns to save them.

It connected a community of forest enthusiasts who spent much of the day brainstorming and coming up with strategies and ideas for future action.

I am happy to report that everyone went home invigorated with enthusiasm, vowing to maintain collaborative efforts to help protect WA forests.

We’ve taken on board all the suggestions and will be liaising with all participants on their follow-up efforts to spread the word about preserving our jarrah, karri and tuart trees.

We need to maintain our rage against the Government, which has ignored two big petitions to stop logging the forests. Keep an eye out for opportunities to get into the forest. As part of the campaign city dwellers will be encouraged and assisted to interact with the forest up close

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

Recently, to commemorate Op Shop Week (Sep 30 – Oct 7), I encouraged people to donate their unwanted clothes to charity, and to utilise their nearest op shops for their clothing needs.

We need to halt the growing throwaway culture for clothes which has resulted in fabrics filling landfill indefinitely, as they invariably take hundreds of years to break down, if ever.

Secondhand does not mean sacrificing style, and I’m proud to say that my family and I frequent op shops whenever and wherever we can.

MILKING HEMP POTENTIAL

I was delighted to be able to offer Members of the Legislative Council the opportunity to taste milk made from hemp during afternoon tea in Parliament.

Parliament recently passed legislation which allows the cultivation of hemp containing up to one per cent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the leaves, making it easier for registered farmers to grow the seed and plants, which they can sell into the food or fibre industries.

The hemp industry will likely expand quite significantly over the next few years. I’ll back calls on the Government to support the industry with research into the agricultural aspects and development of products and markets.

One of those products, hemp milk, is currently available in WA, manufactured locally in Victoria Park by the company Refresh Juice, whose proprietor Liam O’Neil provided the milk at Parliament House. It’s dairy-free, nut-free, contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids as well as all 10 essential amino acids, without any cholesterol.

I’m happy to report that most of my Parliamentary colleagues who sampled the milk gave it the thumbs up.

OTHER ISSUES

There were many other issues I looked at in the past few months, including the impact of AirBNB-type accommodation on tourism and housing in the regions, the increasing demand on clearing for new developments, the use of drum lines for sharks, and the on-going debate over the live sheep trade, for which a transition to a chilled meat industry is the answer.

My constituency stretches from Mandurah to Bremer Bay along WA’s South West coast, taking in the electoral regions of Mandurah, Dawesville, Murray-Wellington, Bunbury, Collie-Preston, Vasse, Warren-Blackwood and Albany.

It’s a pleasure to travel and meet people, listen to their concerns and help out where I can, and find out more about the varied and interesting things they do.

Summary of my activities
July-September 2018

Events attended:

Nornalup Art Exhibition | Denmark High School class presentation | Parliamentarians Leadership course | Climate Change and Energy Public Discussion | Truffle Kerfuffle Manjimup | Germination Art Opening (Manjimup) | South West Environmental Snapshot | Dalyellup Library Opening | BCEC’s Focus on WA Report Exploring the Digital Divide in Western Australia | WALGA Conference | Soil Restoration Farming Seminar | Opening Shire of Manjimup State Timber Museum | Denmark Employment, Education and Training Expo & Evening Event | Homeless Week Couch Conversations (Margaret River) | Photo Exhibition – Year of Living Dangerously | Dying with Dignity Rally | New Economy for WA | Food and Health Event | Dowerin Field Day | WA Farmers Federation Dinner | National Threatened Species Day – Yagan Square Silent Protest | Reverse Education Cuts Rally | Diabetes Awareness Event | CCWA Projections at Parliament | Act Belong Commit Wearable Art Exhibition Opening | Hemp Growers Association Symposium | One Last Stand Rally | WA Farmers Federation General Section cocktail party

Meetings and Briefings:

Great Southern Grammar School at Parliament | Aquinas School at Parliament | Friends of the Earth | Alcoa Rehabilitation Team | Allansons Primary School at Parliament | WA Beekeepers  | Friends of Gelorup | REIWA | Hemp Milk producer Refresh Juice | Frederik Irwin Anglican School at Parliament | Bunbury Greens | WA Forest Alliance | Fire Re-ignition | Roadside Clearing in SW | Forest Management Plan | Food Security in Rural WA | Waste Water Treatment Plant and Drainage Issues | Foreign Buyers Duty | Softwood industry | GM regulations | Solar Battery Storage | The impact of harvesting trees, including jarrah and karri, on beekeepers in the south west | The future of the Australia–India economic relationship | The economic value of insect crop pollinators | Water Allocation Manjimup

Interviews:

Live panel interview with ABC South West | Bunbury ABC Radio

Questions Asked in Parliament:
Integrated Timber Processing Yard | Forest Products Commission – Forest Management Plan 2014-2023 Review | Bunbury Outer Ring Road Route | Barrabup Forest – Logging | Desalination | Structure Plan – Goode Beach, Albany | Logging Beekeeper Concerns | Wild dogs – Pastoral Leases | Green Patch Development – Gamma Survey – Dalyellup | Regrowth Karri Thinning | Prescribed Burning Smoke Health Impact | Roadside Clearing South West | Wild Dogs – Pastoral Leases | Greenpatch Development Dalyellup– Waste Water Treatment Plant | Forest Products Commission -2016-17 Annual Report Hearing | Forest Products Commission – Independent Audit | Sawmills – Investment Security Guarantees | Pemberton Camp School – Leasing | Biosecurity Leptospermum Scoparium