Your South West Voice in Parliament: February 10-16

Diane has returned to Parliament for 2020 last week as the business of the Legislative Council resumed for another year.

While much of the political circus dies down over the Christmas parliamentary recess — a blind spot even a Prime Minister can befall — Diane has maintained a busy schedule throughout the first six weeks of the new decade. This pace has not let up with the return of WA Parliament either, as Diane has continued her customary travel right across the large South West Region.

In the final week of recess alone, Diane stopped in Albany, Margaret River, Bunbury and Busselton — with a visit back to Perth in the middle of her itinerary for commitments with The Greens (WA).

Prior highlights in the period prior to this included visiting the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Peace Boat, attending One Day in Fremantle, and time spent in Manjimup, Denmark and Bridgetown — amongst others.

While parliament and committee meetings mean retaining a presence in Perth for three to four days a week during sitting weeks, the weekends remain time for the South West.

With so much to achieve in 2020 — including repealing the Forest Products Act, seeking royalties for regions funding for regional landcare groups, championing sustainable agriculture and pursuing equitable water management practices in the face of climate challenges, Diane remains your Green South West voice in Parliament.

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.

SFIS: Opposition Grows to Damming River Flows

Hon. Diane Evers MLC (left) with the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance’s Jane Fuchsbichler.

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. 

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