Evers efforts effective in reclaiming lake protections

Greens (WA) South West MLC Diane Evers has made progress in efforts to protect Western Australia’s largest freshwater lake after the State Government indicated they will halt a mining lease application at Lake Jasper.

Responding to parliamentary questioning by Ms Evers in recent weeks, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he would write to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum to suspend consideration of the current application by Strategic Energy Resources.

The decision comes as Ms Evers prepares to camp overnight at the site on Saturday as part of the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition’s ‘Camp on the Country’, joining Indigenous custodians and local environmental activists.

“There is genuine feeling in the South West to make sure this lease is not approved, so I am encouraged by the Minister for Environment seeking to suspend consideration of the application,” she said.

“The area has significant cultural heritage and environmental values that would be destroyed by mining.

“This weekend we will be at Lake Jasper to support the current actions to save the lake from inappropriate and destructive mining.”

A petition to protect the lake from mining of any type and to reinstate surrounding land back into D’Entrecasteaux National Park was submitted to parliament on November 28 and Ms Evers is keen to see follow-through on this action.

“A potential mine would be only 300 metres from the shore of Lake Jasper, within the national park, and could potentially contaminate surface and ground water or damage wetlands essential for flora and fauna,” she said.

“Lake Jasper is one of Western Australia’s few large freshwater lakes that is relatively undamaged by human activity, but you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

“The lake should be returned into D’Entrecasteaux National Park where this unique ecological treasure can be protected for all to enjoy.”

The Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System area has been identified as having extensive acid sulphate soils, with Ms Evers noting the area may not even be suitable for mining from a business perspective.

“The community is well-aware past attempts for mining and exploration have floundered because of environmental risks,” she said.

“One-such failure occurred nearby at Beenup, with the mine there closed after only two years due to corrosion of equipment.

“If the risk to the land is not appreciated by these mining companies, perhaps the economic risk will be.”

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition’s Camp on the Country begins at 2pm on December 8.

Concerned community members who wish to participate are encouraged to email savelakejasper@gmail.com for further details.

Victory in Dunsborough community efforts

Greens (WA) South West MLC Diane Evers has expressed congratulations to Dunsborough community group Puma2Go for a major win in the Court of Appeal this week.

A Supreme Court ruling from 2017 allowing the development to go ahead was overturned on Monday, representing a victory for the local community in a three-year legal battle.

Ms Evers said it was critical the overwhelming voices of opposition in Dunsborough were heard and acknowledged the dedication of Puma2Go to the cause.

“Dunsborough said ‘no’ – and this could not be ignored,” she said.

“For the past three years Puma2Go has championed the overwhelming community opposition of a 24-hour Puma convenience store and petrol station in their town.

“Naturally, I was delighted to hear yesterday that the Court of Appeal has overturned the Supreme Court ruling.

“Our communities are being listened to and this is the most important thing.”

The issue would likely return to the State Administrative Tribunal and Ms Evers believes the prevention any further approval would result in a positive economic outcome for Dunsborough.

“This development was planned for an important, busy tourist destination and it would be wrong to undermine the existing economic opportunities in an area that is already adequately serviced,” she said.

“Development needs to be approved on a solid financial and economic basis, and it is not good enough to simply allow big operators to come in and make it unviable for others to exist.

“There were always additional safety and traffic aspects to consider, so it has been clear that this development was the wrong thing to have in Dunsborough.”

Since coming into office in 2017, Ms Evers has engaged the Dunsborough community group on the issue of the Puma development and represented their concerns to the Puma chief executive in March.

On Tuesday morning Puma2Go thanked Ms Evers for her support of the campaign.

Evers backed in efforts to champion WA agriculture

The Greens (WA) agriculture spokesperson Diane Evers has opened constructive bi-partisan dialogue in support of innovation in the West Australian agriculture industry, in a push towards embracing regenerative farming methods.

On November 21, National Agriculture Day, Ms Evers addressed the Legislative Council in a member’s statement, followed by a motion to discuss the topic the next day in parliament.

Ms Evers has been encouraged by the uptake of regenerative farming practices in Western Australia and is eager to encourage others to do so, and increase the benefits coming from such innovation.

“We know modern agriculture is facing many challenges, we need to look at the farmers who have adopted new practices and understand the practices that have worked,” she said.

“But we need to get to work very quickly.”

Ms Evers explained how the pursuit of regenerative agriculture could combat often unfavourable economic, land and climate conditions, with an end benefit to both farmers and communities.

“Regenerative agriculture is about looking after the soil by getting carbon into the soil, increasing the ability to retain moisture, and providing a healthy environment for microbes,” she said.

“With diversity and health in the soil, microbes can break down the minerals in the soil, get the nutrients out and put them into a form that can be taken up by the roots of plants.

“If we can grow more nutritious food, we will all benefit.”

The issues raised were well-received across the chamber by Ms Evers’ parliamentary colleagues, with positive contributions in response to the motion from parliamentary colleagues including Agriculture and Food Minister, Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC, current farmer Hon Darren West MLC and former farmer Hon Colin de Grussa MLC.

Despite the need for action now, Ms Evers was keen to point out the positive approach to the industry necessary and its importance to the state as a whole
“Metropolitan dwellers have a distorted view of farming – often, all they hear about are the bad things,” she said.

“Our food security is great at the moment – we produce 93 per cent of our own food.

“Our farmers should be appreciated and admired, because they produce our food.

“With this in mind, let us support our farmers and their communities that so valuably produce our food.”

Regenerative Agriculture fact file:
– carbon farming
– adaptation to climate change
– reducing subsoil constraints
– groundcover and soil stability for wind and water erosion control
– perennial pastures and grazing management
– groundwater and surface water management
– land-use planning, land capability and land suitability analyses
Source: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development