Diane continued activities inside and out of Parliament, aligned with the Noongar values of kart, koort and wirrin, during an emotional week that addressed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 and the Pinjarra Massacre of 1834.
The VAD Bill passed the Second Reading vote in the Legislative Council by 25 to 10 on Wednesday. During the previous evening’s session, Diane took the opportunity to speak on this important piece of legislation. Diane highlighted the importance of representation in this matter, with 84% of West Australians in support of the Bill.
The week was bookended by two community events with a strong focus on Noongar culture, firstly at Koolbardies Talking, a local women’s group in the City of Mandurah serving as a meeting place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, providing an opportunity to share stories and change public perceptions. This was followed on Saturday by a more solemn affair, as Diane was invited to speak at the Bindjareb Boodja memorial commemoration of the Pinjarra massacre.
In other matters of ongoing significance, on Tuesday the Environmental Protection Authority agreed to proposal changes by the Southern Forests Irrigation Cooperative. The proposal change “clarified” that 9.3 gigalitres of water will be taken from the Donnelly River annually, an increase on the previous 9 gigalitres, despite the removal of a dam the proponents alleged would not have existed in the first place. Diane remains opposed to a water trading scheme that is wildly inequitable, will threaten native forests and will not a provide solution to water allocation that serves community interests. A full Public Environmental Review is to come, Diane will encourage public submissions when this period opens.
Meanwhile on Friday, ABC South West reported that WA’s biggest native hardwood processor, Auswest Timbers, is accused of ‘wasting’ thousands of tonnes of jarrah logs. Diane continues to support the significant work done by WA Forest Alliance (WAFA) in this matter, with her office liaising between constituents, WAFA and Parliament regarding these practices at Auswest Timbers for some time. The native timber industry remains poorly managed by the Forest Products Commission, who are not up to the task of preventing unethical practices.
Elsewhere, Diane continued the busy work of Legislative Council proceedings and attending the meeting of the Select Committee into Local Government, prior to returning to Parliament for the third and final sitting week of October.
Diane returned to Parliament last week as she combined her duties on the Legislative Council with committee and estimate hearings. There remained time to attend a number of important community events, however, which provided the opportunity to speak in Parliament about the importance of community and culture.
The headline issue of the week statewide was the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, which reached the Legislative Council for the first time. The Greens have a long history of supporting the right for people to choose how they die if they are near the end of their life and in unbearable pain, having introduced legislation to allow VAD in 2001, and again in 2010 — the first political party to do so. Diane will spake in Parliament on this debate in the coming weeks and recognises that 84% of Western Australians support VAD. It’s time that Parliament did too.
Topics Diane addressed in Parliament included biodiversity and her attendance at the State NRM & Coastal and New Economy Network Australia conferences — keep an eye on Diane’s Facebook page for the videos.
Outside of Parliament and as The Greens (WA) spokesperson for regional development, Diane was privileged to provide the opening address on day two of Linkwest’s People. Place. Partnerships. conference on Thursday, 17 October. Diane spoke of kart, koort and wirrin — the triple bottom line of indigenous culture — and the strength to be found in people and community within the regions. Diane has championed the importance of funding Community Resource Centres in recent months.
Diwali celebrations, the WA Forest Alliance Annual General Meeting and travels throughout the Southwest, from Mandurah to Albany (and back again) constituted just a few of Diane’s other activities during the week. Fortunately, a kind farmer in Frankland River came to Diane’s rescue on Sunday with a jerry can of petrol, ensuring she could complete her journeys. With the Legislative Council to commence the second week of a three-week stint on Tuesday, sometimes the important work of providing a South West voice in Parliament needs that little bit of help too.
Diane Evers MLC donned the hi-vis two days in a row this week during visits to development sites of contrasting uses.
Beginning on Tuesday, Diane joined her Greens colleagues Tim Clifford MLC and Alison Xamon MLC for a sneak preview of the Western Australian Museum, scheduled to open in the Perth Cultural Centre in late-November 2020. Despite plenty of work to be done prior to completion, Diane was impressed by what she saw.
Diane was back into the South West Region on Wednesday, joining a large tour of the Greenbushes Lithium Stage Two mine and acknowledging the need to balance society’s utilisation of modern technologies with the need to protect the planet. Diane urged operating company, Talison, to get sustainability offsets right, enact best-practice rehabilitation post-mining and ensure good use for residual material – while continuing to call on the State Government to work towards the of transport material on rail.
On Thursday, Diane is back on farm with Lower Blackwood Landcare at its Spring Field Day. Showcasing four properties in Rosa Glen, as well as the great diversity of sustainable farming enterprises in the area, Diane looks forward to discussions covering issues such as:
- Grazing & pasture management
- Small batch production
- Regenerative & sustainable agriculture practices.
CRC Funding Confirmed!
In June, Diane tabled a petition in Parliament with nearly one thousand signatures opposing the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme.
Since that time it has become increasingly apparent in the media and in the response to Diane’s office that there is near-universal opposition to this unfair scheme in the South West Region – in one case, even from an individual who bought into the scheme when it was first spruiked!
With this in mind, Diane is making plans with the Don’t Dam the Donnelly community group for further action during August, to really let the proponents of this scheme – and the State and Federal Governments – know that this is not in the public or environment’s interest.
There remains hope that the Environmental Protection Authority may reject the scheme, but there have been too many examples of enough boxes being ticked to allow bad developments to proceed. This is no time for complacency.
Finally, Diane received a very special poem from an 11-year-old self-identified farmer. With a strong sense of identity and understanding of the environment, Diane recognises that this is the next generation: the intangible, countless, unending wave of time, to whom a responsibility is owed to provide a healthy, functional society — and whom the current generation must cede power to, as it surrenders to the knowledge that the next generation are ready , willing and able to shape their future.
Diane thanks Maggie for caring enough to take action – and hopes people listen.
Later this year I will present a petition to parliament objecting to the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme.
In anticipation of this, I encourage everybody who supports the majority of members in the local community and principal petitioner Brian Vallentine to print copies and collect at least 20 signatures.
This petition must be returned to my office by 24 June 2019 (details below). This petition must not be altered or otherwise marked up or amended. Only original signatures are permitted.
Please return this Petition by 24 June 2019 to:
Hon. Diane Evers MLC of PO Box 949, West Perth WA 6872
Of 452 agricultural businesses in the Southern Forests Region, only 68 have chosen to join the SFIS, with farm-owners’ pledges of $10 million to be eclipsed by $59 million of taxpayer funding.
As a result, the scheme will see a minority of local landowners subsidised by significant government support based on stakeholders’ ability to buy-in, with others along the pipeline only able to access the water by purchasing it off their neighbours.
A number of approvals remain pending before the scheme can go ahead, such as the April 2019determination by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that a full environmental assessment of the SFIS would be required.
Water for the scheme will be pumped from the Donnelly River into a dam at Record Brook.
Diane remains hopeful the EPA assessment may be where this scheme stalls and I’m sure a great number of people will be working to present fair evidence to support such an outcome, motivated by the following factors:
- The business plan is out of date and relies on old data for the prices and supply of produce;
- There is no guarantee that water flows will be sufficient to fill the dam;
- The costs of the pipeline installation and routing across private land is out of date;
- The destruction of forest for the dam, weir and pipeline is unnecessary and will destroy native bushland, habitat and culturally significant sites;
- The water flows past the dam & weir will be altered and have a subsequent impact downstream;
- The environments in the dam and the river above the weir will be altered;
- The water flows have not been proven to come from the forest rather than from the cleared agricultural land above the Donnelly River weir, where water restrictions impede opportunities to develop these properties;
- The properties with access to the scheme water are gaining substantial personal benefit from a very targeted government handout that could be used more equitably by a greater cross section of the community.
Later this year I will present a petition to parliament to reopen the railway line between Bunbury and Greenbushes on behalf of concerned members of the South West community.
In anticipation of this, I encourage everybody who supports freight on rail to print copies and collect at least 20 signatures.
This petition must be returned to my office by 1 August 2019 (details below). This petition must not be altered or otherwise marked up or amended. Only original signatures are permitted.
Please return this Petition by 1 August 2019 to:
Hon. Diane Evers MLC of PO Box 949, West Perth WA 6872
The transport of lithium is a significant issue requiring serious and urgent consideration from government. Over the past year I have supported calls for the State Government to pursue the improvement and development of railway infrastructure from the Talison Greenbushes mine.
With the potential impact of substantial increases in truck traffic through the local community and along South Western Highway as a result of road freight movements, a rail freight solution between the lithium mine, lithium refineries and the ports of Bunbury and Kwinana needs serious consideration. Read More
Hon. Diane Evers MLC for the South West Region of Western Australia
Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia