Your South West Voice in Parliament, October 21-27

Diane attends the Bindjareb Boodja memorial commemoration of the Pinjarra massacre on Friday, 25 October.

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.

Your South West Voice in Parliament, October 14-20

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.

Evers Springs Into View

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
  • Agritourism
  • Small batch production
  • Regenerative & sustainable agriculture practices.
Diane with fellow The Greens (WA) colleagues Tim Clifford MLC (left) and Alison Xamon MLC (right).
Diane with fellow The Greens (WA) colleagues Tim Clifford MLC (left) and Alison Xamon MLC (right) at the Western Australian Museum development site on Tuesday, 8 October.
Diane visits the Greenbushes Lithium Stage Two mine on Wednesday, October 9.

CRC Funding Confirmed!

CRC Funding Confirmed!


There was good news for Community Resource Centres (CRC) today, as the State Government confirmed in Parliament that funding will continue two more years through to the end of the 21/22 financial year, without going through a reapplication process.

This allows CRCs time for forward planning, as they work hard to meet the needs of communities.

Earlier in September, Diane asked the Government about its funding evaluation for Linkwest, the state association for community, neighbourhood and learning centres in Western Australia. The Government’s response was that it is still “considering” an evaluation report, despite less than six weeks before its funding is set to cease.

As the peak body supporting CRCs, this vital service cannot provide security to either its staff or the community as a result. Diane aims to continue working towards forcing the Government to ensure clarity to Linkwest, believing Linkwest and the WA Community Resource Network deserve better.

School Strike 4 Climate

School Strike 4 Climate


Diane joined Bunbury school students and workers today for the global #ClimateStrike, as young and young-at-heart alike came together to demand urgent action on the climate crisis.

Amazing scenes played out across the nation, with hundreds of thousands of Australians in capital cities and regional centres turning out, just three days before world leaders meet in New York for the United Nations Emergency Climate Summit.

Diane thanks all those who came together in the spirit of hope and regeneration. The multiple — and increasing — School Strikes 4 Climate and Fridays for Future protests in the South West Region, Perth CBD and at Parliament House have inspired many to recognise current democratic processes are not moving quickly enough. Whether it is Greta Thunberg internationally or the South West Region’s own young activist leaders, like Bella Burgemeister from Bunbury, the youth of today will not stand for the failings of yesterday.

SFIS: Opposition Grows to Damming River Flows

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.

Maggie’s poem:

 

Petition to the Legislative Council: Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme

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

Petition to the Legislative Council: Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme

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. 

An Elemental Journey Through the South West

An Elemental Journey Through the South West

Monday

Environmental Action Discussion

Diane met with the Dardanup Environmental Action Group on Monday to discuss waste, mining and the environment in “the small South West community whose tip is bigger than its town”.

Lithium processing is experiencing a boom in the resource sector, but the production process has its consequences and the tailings must be responsibly dealt with.

Ensuring South West communities are not negatively impacted by this – in the form of waste management and Cleanaway’s expansion of its Banksia Road landfill site, in Dardanup’s case – is an issue Diane is taking the time to understand.

There may also be the opportunity to consider more proactive and positive management of the process moving forwards that might provide benefit to other towns in the South West.

Tuesday

Augusta Margaret River Climate Action Summit

Climate change mitigation was on the agenda at Surfer’s Point on Tuesday as Diane attended a summit held by Climate Action Augusta Margaret River, welcoming guest speakers Tim Flannery (via video link) and Ben Elton to talk about the challenges posed to society by carbon emissions and human impact on the planet.

The importance of a holistic and integrated approach to the climate emergency was workshopped by Diane and attendees, focussing on collaborative strategies that can incorporate agriculture, transport, youth and housing issues – amongst others – within the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.

An action plan was developed on the day and a community group will will be tasked to engage this moving forward, which Diane will be paying close interest to.

As an additional treat, Diane also met 11-time surfing world legend and environmental advocate Kelly Slater, along with young Californian Conner Coffin, in town for this weekend’s Margaret River Pro.

  • Views from the Augusta Margaret River Climate Action Summit.

  • Ben Elton speaks to the attendees.

  • The Augusta Margaret River Climate Action Summit.

  • Diane with other attendees of the Augusta Margaret River Climate Action Summit.

  • Views of Surfer’s Point from the Augusta Margaret River Climate Action Summit.

  • Diane with Ben Elton.

  • Diane with Kelly Slater.

  • Diane with Kelly Slater, Conner Coffin (both center) and fellow attendees of the Augusta Margaret River Climate Action Summit.

Wednesday

Consuming Southern Forests Passions

A meeting with one of WA’s own veteran celebrity chefs, regenerative agriculture and a community discussion about the water allocation was on the menu for Diane on a busy Wednesday.

Diane and former Consuming Passions host Ian Parmenter talked about the importance of food tourism in the South West region, encouraging locally run culinary events and high-end travel opportunities.

Following this, Diane met with the team behind the Lower Blackwood LCDC to talk funding, community engagement and a whole-of-landscape, whole-of-community view of agriculture in the area.

Once again the topic of integration was raised, with local producers realising the need for governance that considers the many facets of agriculture and its holistic role in food supply, the economy, environmental conservation and even culture.

A drive to Yanmah led to a chat about one of the higher profile recent issues – the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme – featuring matters of water security and South West ecology as the focus.

Members of the Don’t Dam the Donnelly, along with other members of the community, are concerned about the scheme — one that benefits only 70 other local growers, despite $59 million of state and federal funding.

These farmers are not happy about the scheme’s impact on the river and the planned dam at Record Brook, and discussed with Diane the need to reassess how water rights are determined.

In a few short days over 1,200 people have signed a petition to stop the SFIS. They want politicians and the tax-paying public to know that the SFIS is not supported by the majority of people in the region.

Diane and local growers concerned by the SFIS.

Thursday

Station to Station: Regional Development

The final day of a busy few across the region began by returning to the issue of lithium and meeting with Bunbury councillor Murray Cook to discuss thoughts on reopening the Bunbury-Greenbushes rail line, which Diane will present a petition to Parliament on in the coming months.

Cr Cook has also expressed interest in Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup, where he was raised, calling for the mine proponents and the State Government to rebuild and open the line to take the timber, spodumene and the tailings off South West roads.

The final stop on the journey was up to the Peel region with focus turning to regional  development issues.

The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council are maintaining a watching brief on the proposed development of Point Grey Marina, where proponents were given a five-year extension on a residential development on Ramsar wetlands in 2017.

The Shire of Murray rejected the development and the PHCC are raising public awareness of how this development and the proposed channel will damage the inlet. Better plans for the Point can be found and Diane will support the community to protect the Estuary.

Diane with members of the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council.

Fridays…

…for Future.

Finally, Diane returned to Perth at the end of the week to once more support the committed students who are maintaining the Greta Thunberg-inspired School Strike 4 Climate movement.

These students shouldn’t have to strike from school every Friday, but they feel they have no choice, because not only is our government not taking serious action on this climate emergency, but Western Australia’s emissions are also rising.

This type of peaceful, but meaningful protest, shows the willingness among the youth of Western Australia to protect the planet for their futures – a willingness shared by the volunteers of the Western Australian Forest Alliance, who will be blockading state forest over the coming long weekend (and beyond).

Please support WAFA to prevent the imminent clear-felling of Karri trees at Lewin forest, largely for wood-chips, by joining their protest.

Diane speaks with the students of the Fridays for Future protest.



Next Week:

Parliament Duties Resume

The Legislative Council resumes on Tuesday, following the long weekend and a two-week recess.

Diane wishes all of her supporters in the South West and beyond a safe long weekend. Stay up to date with Diane’s parliamentary activities by following her on Facebook, Instagram or by joining her mailing list below!

Subscribe

* indicates required




Petition to Reopen the Railway Line Between Bunbury and Greenbushes

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

Petition Greenbushes to Bunbury Railway Reinstatement

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