Evers Encourages Albany Council Climate Call

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has thrown her support behind a proposed City of Albany motion to adopt climate change action, as efforts to stop the climate crisis ramp up across the state.

An Albany resident herself, Ms Evers said that a positive declaration at Tuesday night’s Ordinary Council Meeting would add to public pressure for climate change action and sustainability initiatives at all levels of government, whilst also providing practical solutions at a local level.

Ms Evers’ WA Greens colleague, Tim Clifford MLC, will introduce a Climate Change Act to WA Parliament on November 5 and Ms Evers said the continued public push for governmental responses to the climate crisis highlighted the current scale of inaction.

The Climate Change Act to be introduced by Mr Clifford will set out legislative terms to:

  • target net-zero emissions by 30 June 2040;
  • target 100 per cent renewable energy by 30 June 2030;
  • establish an independent Climate Council;
  • create thousands of green jobs to support Western Australian communities and protect the environment.

Ms Evers said that tackling the climate crisis would also address the ongoing COVID-19 economic crisis through job creation and local manufacturing.

Ms Evers highlighted the fact that Western Australia contributes more than its fair share of greenhouse gas emissions but, instead of reducing its pollution, the state has the fastest-growing emissions in the country and has plenty more fossil fuel projects in the pipeline.

A rally in support of the Climate Change Act will be held outside Parliament House at 9am on Thursday, November 5, prior to the introduction of the Bill in the Legislative Council later that day.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“Last year, as part of the School Strike 4 Climate, the youth of Albany came out in force to demand urgent local action to combat the global climate crisis.

“Albany council now has the opportunity to do its own part in providing people with the safe and healthy environment that has been put at risk by the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

“While it’s great the WA Government has established an aspirational net zero emissions by 2050 target, the climate crisis requires more than an aspiration.

“The last two State Budgets alone have scarcely mentioned climate change, reflective of a government focussed on maintaining the untenable status quo, even before the impact of COVID-19.

“Scientists have been clear: this is the critical decade for action on climate, with a need to halve pollution by 2030 and get to zero emissions as fast as possible.

“Next week, the WA Greens’ Tim Clifford MLC will introduce a practical legislative framework that will give the WA Government an opportunity to be bold, set a net zero emissions target, drive renewable energy investment and establish an independent Climate Council to oversee the transition to a renewable economy.

“Without this decisive action, we will face the catastrophic consequences of irreversible global heating.

“If our local governments can commit to transitioning its assets to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and implement key climate change action regionally, then it is environmental recklessness for the WA Government to have not taken action sooner.

“We’re in this situation because large polluting industries have been allowed to buy influence with both major parties, creating an economy that favours profit over people and planet.”

GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

Unregal Funding Framework for Regions

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has highlighted ongoing criticism of Royalties for Regions spending as an example of government and opposition continuing to argue over details, instead of working to reform systemic issues.

Ms Evers, who introduced the Royalties for Regions Amendment Bill in 2019, has previously called for environmental purposes to be reflected in Royalties for Regions spending.

Ms Evers has criticised the existing system for facilitating government spending that is not for the benefit of regions, rather than encouraging MPs across the chamber to support reform that supports groups and organisations that work to improve environmental health.

The Royalties for Regions Amendment Bill sought to direct a minimum of 10 per cent of all royalties for regions annual funding to environmental rehabilitation and preservation.

Ms Evers said the Royalties for Regions funding framework had provided meaningful support to the regional communities of Western Australia, but more often it is being directed to existing programs and services.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“While politicians argue, rather than finding a way forwards, the impact of climate change on our environment continues unaddressed.

“There needs to be a thorough review to ensure royalties from our state’s mining and gas resources are translated into benefits for our regional communities.

“A review of Royalties for Regions is needed now to address the shortcomings in the existing framework and provide landcare groups with the certainty and stability needed to support their incredible management of the environment in regional communities.

“For example, a quarter of the funding is now provided for the Country Water Pricing Subsidy, which used to come out of consolidated revenue.

“This subsidy ensures regional residents pay the same cost for water as those in the metro area and should not come from Royalties for Regions as the economic effect on the regions is negated.

“That is, there is a net loss to the regional areas of that $250 million dollars each year.

“Environmental degradation and pollution as a result of mining and gas sector activities is increasing and the WA Government is doing little to protect or restore our environment.

“A lack of support for community-based environmental organisations across the State and the potential impacts of the loss of valuable ecosystems resulting from insufficient action is too critical to waste time with argument.”

GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

Deterrents the Key in Shark Risk Management

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has urged the WA Labor Government to do all it can to support surfing-specific personal shark deterrents in the wake of the tragic news that the search for Esperance surfer Andrew Sharpe was called off yesterday.

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for fisheries and marine, extended her condolences to Mr Sharpe’s family, which acknowledged in a statement on Monday that the surfer of 40 years understood the risks associated with the recreation.

Earlier this year, the WA Government announced a 12-month extension of its Smart shark drumline trial, bringing the total cost of the trial to $6.4 million, but Ms Evers said this investment would have been better spent in providing ocean users WITH more non-lethal protection.

Ms Evers has previously thrown her support behind scientific trials of personal shark deterrents, encouraging the Government to expand its rebate scheme if they proved effective at repelling the predators.

Ms Evers also encouraged the Government to avoid responding to panic calls for lethal responses to sharks in WA waters, cautioning that such debate was based on fear, instead of scientifically-led mitigation and personal risk management.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“The primary concern today is that a member of our Western Australian community has lost their life and I extend my condolences to Andrew Sharpe’s family for their terrible loss at this time.

“Western Australians by-and-large understand the risks that come when we interact with our environment, though this, of course, cannot compensate for when fatal incidents occur.

“The likelihood is that there will always be risk associated with interacting with the ocean and a fear response to these dangers is not uncommon.

“However, I will continue to urge the Government to invest in rational, effective responses that will increase safety for the surfing community.

“Instead of spending millions of dollars on ineffective research exercises, such as a drumline trial with a two per cent success-rate, the Government should be doing it all it can to ensure an accessible supply of scientifically effective deterrents to surfers.

“Currently a $200-dollar rebate scheme only applies to two specific products, when there is more technology available to be developed and harnessed.

“This includes the development of static ocean deterrents, such as those emitting low-frequency electrical pulses, or magnetic and visual stimuli to deter sharks without any harm to marine life.

“Such measures would not eliminate all marine danger, but would at least ensure that recreational lovers of our oceans will be equipped with some method of non-lethal defence.”

GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

Budget Surplus Reflective of Deficit in Focus: Evers

The Greens (WA) finance spokesperson Diane Evers has questioned the benefit of Western Australia’s budget surplus when so many West Australians do it tough and the climate crisis continues to threaten the state’s environment.

As was the case in the May 2019 State Budget, there was no allocation for climate change strategies in yesterday’s budget papers, with the spending to maintain WA’s economic position dependent on avoiding a second coronavirus wave.

Ms Evers expressed concern that the WA Labor Government’s approach to the state’s finances utilised a very narrow risk assessment, with the COVID-19 pandemic arguably only one of many possible damaging crises to impact on society in the coming years. 

With yesterday’s budget the last before the 2021 state election, Ms Evers said it provided a critical opportunity to chart a different course for WA and believed that more needs to be done to turn the climate crisis around.

Ms Evers said the WA Labor Government had a responsibility to ensure Western Australians have what they need to live a good life, through investment in housing, sustainable manufacturing and infrastructure and a renewable energy future. 

The WA Labor Government announced a $600 credit towards electricity bills as part of the State Budget, which Ms Evers described as unnecessary for those who can afford to pay.

Ms Evers also highlighted a lack of significant investment in environmental management projects, such as increased funding for on-ground environmental works, serious development of Ranger programs for our southern forests, increased funding for fire preparedness and volunteer fire brigades as well as substantial increased investment in regenerative agriculture development to draw carbon from the atmosphere back into soils.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“A budget surplus, particularly in the year of COVID-19, should mean both vulnerable members of our community and environment are able to be looked after – instead, today was the launch of WA Labor’s 2021 election campaign.

“The strength of Western Australia is in the shape of the economy, not just size, and with a budget surplus and historically low interest rates, now’s the time to be bold and invest in our future.

“This budget has been framed as if COVID-19 is the only major risk heading our way, with limited planning for future pandemics, climate and other risks, while scientists are telling us that this is the critical decade to tackle climate change.

“We have a magnificent opportunity to combat climate change by ending native forest logging and stimulating the economy through a just transition of jobs to a plantation industry and new, sustainable forest stewardship roles.

“There is also no evidence that money will go to increasing pine plantation estates, despite the WA Labor Government openly acknowledging that there is a shortfall in meeting future supply contract requirements.

“Forests are the most efficient technology we have for drawing down carbon from the atmosphere, and protecting our native forests and developing the plantation industry is climate action. 

“The South West Region is also an ideal location for renewable energy infrastructure and the State Government should provide business certainty in these clean industries by adopting a renewable energy target.

“Despite $27.1 billion to be spent on infrastructure in this budget, there is no evidence of increased investment in regional rail, despite widespread and growing community support for improved amenity and alternative strategies to avoid the dangers of freight on roads.

“To strengthen our regions, I would have expected an increase to the rail future fund, but clearly this government still needs encouragement to invest for the long-term resilience of our regions.

“$644m in electricity subsidies could have been targeted to those in need, and redirected some of the fund to encourage home battery energy storage and rapid charging stations running off renewable energy.

“Royalties for Regions is still being directed inappropriately, and has not targeted funds to help regional communities address challenging environmental impacts, which is why I introduced the Royalties for Regions Amendment Bill in 2019.

“The Royalties for Regions fund is capped at $1billion, and the Country Water Pricing Subsidy takes up 25 per cent.

”This subsidy was previously funded by the Water Corporation and should once again.

“Our regional health services were already under stress prior to the COVID-19 crisis and the World Health Organization recently called for whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches to establish and maintain effective preparedness – where is the funding in future years to address and prepare for future uncertainties?

“The top-down response so far has been effective, but also lucky.

“What our community desperately needs is investment into social and affordable housing, long-term food security, mental health support services including early intervention and prevention, and investment in regional manufacturing and product development.

“The waste on a $644m blanket giveaway through electricity indicates that this Government has money to spare and could properly fund these needed investments and services. 

“Now more than ever, the Government should be investing into our future.

“This means bold government investment in social housing and homelessness prevention so no one has to spend a single night sleeping rough. 

“With 14,000 households and nearly 24,000 people on the social housing waiting list, the Government isn’t doing nearly enough to ensure those who need a home, get one.

“Investment in education to make sure young people are properly prepared for the future.

“Investment in our mental health and disability support sectors to give everyone the best possible quality of life.

“And it means investment in the renewable energy transition to tackle the climate crisis head on, and the thousands of jobs that will be created with it.

“If the economy doesn’t work for all of us, it doesn’t work.”

GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070