Harassment Claims As Local Farmers Call For Government Intervention

KEY POINTS:

  • Harassment of local businesses who supported June petition to stop the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme
  • Local farmers call on McGowan Government to withdraw funding
  • Massive community opposition outnumbering support
  • Water trading scheme yet to pass environmental review
  • Planned community gathering for Friday, 23rd of August

Heavy-handed intimidation tactics are being employed in response to growing public opposition against the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme (SFIS), according to concerned members of the local community. The claims come ahead of a community gathering at impact site to be attended by South West MLC Diane Evers next Friday — and after almost 1,000 members of the South West community signed a petition requesting that the SFIS be stopped.

Information in the publicly available petition to WA Parliament, which was tabled by Ms Evers in June, is alleged to have been used by backers of the SFIS to identify and target those who signed the document. Local sources indicated the harassment of businesses in the region by several pro-SFIS individuals took the form of threats to end long-standing trading relationships as a consequence of supporting the petition.

According to the Legislative Council Administration Office, if a petitioner is subjected to any treatment in the nature of harassment or interference, this may be considered a contempt of the Council and penalties may be imposed on offenders.

John Kilrain, a West Manjimup farmer who opposes the SFIS, said he was worried tensions could worsen and called on the McGowan Government to act in the public interest.

“Intimidation in the region is not acceptable and will not be tolerated,” he said.
“If it continues, those doing so will be held accountable.
“The State Government needs to get a better understanding of just how little support exists for this water trading scheme, and withdraw its funding before this escalates.
“Everyone needs to live in this community and was good friends until this water trading scheme came about.
“We don’t want this getting personal, our community has always been united previously.”

Yanmah farmer Brian Vallentine agreed that the McGowan Government should withdraw funding and that claims of harassment and interference were against the spirit of community.

“This behaviour is not on, people have a right to freedom of speech and they exercised it by signing the petition,” he said.
“The best thing that could happen is if the State Government withdrew its funding.”

Mr Kilrain said the water trading scheme, which could yet be rejected by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) after it requested a Public Environmental Review in April, could not be supported.

“The current proposal is environmentally, sustainably and economically not acceptable,” he said.
“The interests of the few have been prioritised over that of the many, caused by a lack of consultation and not following due process.”

Despite there being 452 agricultural businesses in the Southern Forests Region, only 70 people have chosen to join the SFIS, with farm-owners’ pledges of $10 million to be eclipsed by $59 million of taxpayer funding.

Both Mr Kilrain and Mr Vallentine are members of the Don’t Dam the Donnelly community group, which has been representing those who do not want to see the water trading scheme proceed. Ms Evers and the Don’t Dam the Donnelly group will be hosting a community gathering and barbecue on Friday, 23rd of August, including a visit to the potential impact sites. The public is invited join and learn more about the water trading scheme’s perverse consequences on the Southern Forests Region.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“It is becoming clear that the proponents of this unfair water trading scheme are finally realising that public opposition to the SFIS is overwhelming.
“Opposition to the SFIS now outstrips its support by ten-fold and more, as was evidenced by the number of people willing to put their name to the petition tabled in Parliament.
“The South West is a big place, but a small community, so if people are willing to stake their personal information to a cause, you’d better believe they are committed to it.
“Any inappropriate behaviour in response to this sensible community resistance would no doubt be out of desperation — the people are being heard.
“The growing awareness of this scheme’s inequity is unsurprising, given that the SFIS will see a minority of local landowners subsidised by significant government support.
“This has been based entirely on stakeholders’ ability to buy-in, with others along the pipeline only able to access the water by purchasing it off their neighbours.”

FACT FILE:

The Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme is an agricultural irrigation scheme being developed in the Manjimup-Pemberton area in South West Region of Western Australia. The SFIS proposal aims to secure local water supplies through:

  • State and Federal funding comprising more than 85% of the total cost, despite scheme water being limited to just 70 landowners who make a financial contribution.
  • A 15-gigalitre dam and a 250km pipeline distribution network that will supply approximately 10 gigalitres of water annually to irrigate 1700ha of land, with only those investors that have purchased a water entitlement for the scheme will benefit. Landowners who have not contributed will get no benefit even if the pipeline passes beside their property.
  • Allowing the commercial trading of water between farms.
  • The SFIS will involve the clearing and/or inundation of over 320ha of valued Karri, Jarrah and Marri forest.
  • A likely and significant environmental impact on threatened ecological communities and species including:
    • Forest Red-tail Black Cockatoos;
    • Baudin’s Black Cockatoos;
    • Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos
    • Woylies;
    • Numbats;
    • Western ringtail possums;
    • Quokkas;
    • Chuditch/Western Quolls;
    • Balstons Pygmy Perchs;
    • Harringtons/Pink Spider Orchards;
    • Tall Donkey Orchids.
  • The potential disturbance of Aboriginal heritage sites.

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

Shark Fin Soup Off the Menu

Efforts to protect worldwide shark populations will reach State Parliament today, with Greens South West MLC Diane Evers to table a Bill aimed at stopping the sale of shark fin products in Western Australia.

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) fisheries spokesperson, will propose banning the sale of food containing shark fins as part of the Shark Fin Prohibition Bill, with possible fines rising to $250,000.

Corporations will receive the heaviest penalties under the terms of the Bill, while offending individuals will be liable to fines of $50,000.

Shark finning is an offence for federal and WA fisheries and involves removing fins from a live shark and returning it to the ocean to drown.

It is reported that thousands of kilograms of shark fins are imported into Australia each year through loopholes in existing regulations.

There have been previous efforts in Australian jurisdictions such as New South Wales to implement bans on the sale of shark fin food products, such as shark fin soup.

Many jurisdictions have implemented their own specific bans on shark finning, while some, including various US states and territories, have gone even further and implemented direct bans on possessing shark fins.

Ms Evers, who has been vocal in the past about the harmful effects of baited shark drumline trials in South West waters, said the Bill would go some way towards removing threats to open-water shark populations.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“This Bill is a clear, measured and important step in our work towards ending the inhumane and wasteful practice of shark finning.

“The international community recognises that shark finning damages species and ecosystems, while shark fins have not been established to offer any scientific health benefits.

“Unfortunately, foods such as shark fin soup continue to be offered in restaurants as a delicacy.

“The introduction of offences in this Bill, which clearly prohibit the sale of food containing shark fins, will close significant loopholes and assist with enforcement in the food and fisheries areas.

“Private individuals making or consuming food containing fins will not be captured by the offence provisions, as long as the product is originally purchased as a whole shark.

“This ensures that the offences are targeted to the commercialisation of the shark finning practice rather than activities of consumers.

“There are also provisions within the Bill to safeguard commercial fishers acting in compliance with fisheries regulations.

“The proposed amendments to the Food Act 2008 will improve food standards and ensure the practice of shark finning is prohibited at each stage of the supply chain.

“This Bill simply seeks to treat shark fin food products the same as others considered unsuitable for consumption and will mirror provisions for existing offences under the Act.

“It does not go as far as the bans implemented in some US states such as California, Hawaii, Texas and New York but will be an effective step towards ending the awful practice of shark finning.

“Even with bans in place, we know that some fishers continue this cruel practice – in 2015, a boat was apprehended in Queensland waters carrying over 3,000 shark fins.

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

Greens Joy at Greens Pool Win

A disallowance motion in the upper house of WA Parliament was defeated on Thursday, upholding a McGowan Government decision to ban fishing at Denmark’s idyllic Greens Pool.

Almost 1000 people signed a petition to protect the popular sanctuary prior to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly’s announcement of the ban and The Greens (WA) fisheries and marine spokesperson Diane Evers claimed the decision as a win for the community.

Ms Evers, who voted to uphold the ban, welcomed a result that would see the popular location maintained as a family-friendly swimming spot.

Ms Evers had been liaising with the community prior to the announcement of the ban in December last year and said the feedback following the rejection of the disallowance motion has been unanimously supportive.

A fishing ban maintains the marine environment for public appreciation, without the risk of interaction with fishing lines and spear guns.

Greens Pool, a centrepiece of William Bay National Park, is situated between Denmark and Walpole and attracts more than 350,000 visitors each year.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“Greens Pool is a world-class natural tourist destination and asset to the south coast and the State and I was pleased to support the ban placed on all fishing at Greens Pool.

“Living in the South West and having enjoyed Greens Pool many times in the past, I recognise that this change creates a sanctuary that can be safely enjoyed by local residents and the many visitors.

“I am committed to protecting our marine and coastal biodiversity and support the ecologically sustainable management of marine environments that reduce the pressure from human activities.

“While I appreciate the place recreational fishing has within our society, these protective measures are being placed on a very small and very significant, part of the southern coast.

“The benefit to the community is great and there remain many alternative opportunities available to recreational fishers.

“I would point to the consultation process in particular as evidence of this, as 10 per cent of local voters signed the petition to support the ban.

“That is a significant sample size and there was no equivalent depth of opposition.

“Sometimes common sense wins out and in this case I’m delighted this is the outcome.”

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

Climate Change Emergency No Influence on WA budget

The Greens (WA) finance spokesperson Diane Evers believes the McGowan Government should show more leadership on climate change after the 2019-20 State Budget was handed down on Thursday.

Ms Evers welcomed a return to surplus but said the overall strategies to combat the climate emergency must improve.

Water Minister Dave Kelly declared a water deficiency in the Shire of Ravensthorpe on Tuesday and was clear in acknowledging climate change had contributed to low rainfall in the region.

However, despite several WA Labor members mentioning climate change in parliament this week, there was no allocation for climate change strategies in yesterday’s budget papers.

Ms Evers appreciates additional funds for the Enhanced Prescribed Burning program but would prefer they were more specifically targeted towards wildfire mitigation and control.

The lack of additional investment in natural resource management (NRM) is of significant concern.

Despite the need for prioritisation of environmental and social programs, Ms Evers recognised that this budget would benefit businesses and the state economy.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“This is a responsible budget from an economic perspective but the need remains to protect our way of life by combating the harm to our society and environment due to climate change.

“Premier McGowan called for more national leadership on climate change in March, neglecting his own responsibility at a state level.

“In this budget, three times as much money will be spent on the fossil fuel industry than on only two very specific renewable energy projects.

“Mr McGowan and Treasurer Wyatt could listen more closely to their own colleagues in parliament, as climate change is clearly on their agenda, as it is for next week’s federal election.

“Prioritising within a budget is important but the Government’s focus remains broadly on large projects, when regional WA has a vast array of needs that may be most efficiently addressed through small business and diversified enterprises.

“I would like to have seen an increase in funds allocated to NRM, especially as the Australian Greens are committed to restoring the significant national funding cuts in this area over the past two decades.

“The $5.5 million per year provided to the Enhanced Prescribed Burning program is of concern, as we are missing out on developing more effective bushfire mitigation strategies in favour of a quantity-over-quality approach.

“I do welcome increased funding to create new national and marine parks over the next five years and to build recreation facilities at Ningaloo Coastal Reserve and invest in Ngari Capes Marine Park, along with significant investment in the agriculture and fisheries sector.

“Knowing there are key effectiveness indicators in the budget for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to drive quality outcomes for agricultural soil health and improved fish stocks is encouraging.

“I feel like my advocacy over the past two years in these areas is being listened to, which is a good outcome for any crossbencher.

“It was disappointing last week to learn that a planned solar farm in Collie has been cancelled and funding redirected in the budget to an as-yet unclear Industry Attraction and Development Fund.

“However, funding for the Collie Adventure Trails initiative, DFES multipurpose facility in Collie and the Collie Futures Fund are good starting points towards a much-needed and comprehensive transition for the town.

“I will reserve final judgement until the highly anticipated economic development plan for Collie and Bunbury is delivered later this year.

“It cannot be ignored that an iron ore windfall has bolstered the makeup of this budget and its subsequent surplus.

“We have seen previous governments squander this in the past, and expect better from this Government.

“I will continue to press hard for the Government to future-proof our communities and lands as part of fully integrated strategies factoring a changing climate at the forefront — while we still can.”

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

SFIS Support Announcement a Scheming Sales Stunt

A desperate Morrison Government is prioritising cheap vote-grabbing over farmers’ interests by announcing pre-election funding for the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme (SFIS), according to The Greens (WA) water spokesperson Diane Evers.

In a media interview following the announcement, WA Nationals MP Terry Redman confirmed the funding had been passed by federal cabinet prior to the election being called on April 11, but the announcement by Liberal member for O’Connor Rick Wilson did not occur until yesterday.

With the announcement in Manjimup occurring the same day pre-polling opened, Ms Evers believes the poorly concealed strategy will not wash with the majority of disenfranchised local farmers.

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 last month’s determination 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.

Ms Evers highlighted potential issues of water availability for local farmers and the downstream supply for farmers and the environment.

Quotes attributed to Diane Evers MLC:

“This has always been a ‘first-in, best-dressed’ process and I am very disappointed to now see further funding allocated on the day pre-polls open.

“This was clearly planned well in advance but it is not going to win over people, as the scheme will only benefit a few wealthy landowners.

“Locals want to use water and will be hindered by the SFIS, but I intend to ensure the community — those who are missing out — are helped to be given the loudest voice.

“We also need to see the EPA assessment carried out, in particular with regard to the environmental needs for water downstream.

“With observable climate change and less rainfall, I am very concerned with how the state intends to manage water supplies.

“Forests require water to thrive and the sheer fact is that water will be taken from the Warren-Donnelly catchment area to serve a privileged few.

“Those people and corporations who purchased land with limited water supply, will now get water subsidised by the state and federal governments..

“To add insult to injury, pipelines for the supply of water will even go over the lands of those who are not entitled to access it.

“At its core, this is a scheme of inequity and unfairness, with original claims about its benefits to jobs growth constantly being revised downward.

“In fact, at least a quarter of this water supply will be to serve existing farm needs, and there are suggestions that figure may be higher given decreasing annual rainfall.

“I remain 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.

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

McGowan Forsakes Forests In Foul Federal Fix

Native forests, critically endangered species and climate change mitigation are all at risk due to WA Labor’s renewal of the state’s Regional Forest Agreement (RFA), according to The Greens (WA) forests spokesperson Diane Evers.

Ms Evers has been joined by Australian Greens senator Janet Rice in condemning the decision, after the stroke of a pen rolled-over last century’s destructive logging laws.

11 forest vertebrate species have been raised to ‘endangered’ or ‘critically endangered’ categories in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia after signing the original RFAs in 1999.

This brings total number of endangered and critically endangered species to 24, with none lowered in categorisation during this time.

Ms Evers has previously supported The Wilderness Society’s campaign to allow WA’s RFA to expire due to these negative environmental outcomes during the RFA’s 20-year term,

Ms Evers has also called for the Forest Products Commission (FPC) to be disbanded and an Environmental Court or Tribunal to be established in aid of protecting the rights of nature.

Comments attributed to Diane Evers, South West Region MLC:

“I am appalled at Mark McGowan’s decision, in alliance with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to renew the awful Regional Forest Agreement.

“There has been 20 years of evidence to demonstrate how the RFAs have failed.

“Premier McGowan’s decision has come despite federal Labor’s commitment not to renew state RFAs without thorough reviews of climate and biodiversity science.

“With the Premier admitting a new agreement was rushed through prior to a federal election, a fair scientific outcome for the sustainable management and conservation of our native forests has been prevented.

“Right now, forests home to native and endangered animals are logged without adequate federal environmental oversight, while Western Australian forests are perversely managed by the Forest Products Commission.

“I am anxious about the FPC’s need to increase revenue by irresponsibly increasing logging after its financial results for the past five years showed a cumulative operating loss of nearly $6 million.

“A government agency, tasked with the conservation and management of forest products, should not have competing profit-related goals and should not exist.

“With more than 60% of regional West Australians opposed to logging of native forests, more people are understanding forests’ value to the ecosystem.

“This is particularly important with regards protecting or regenerating forests to combat climate change.

“I have recently spoken in parliament about the need for an Environmental Court of Tribunal and throughout the remainder of this term will be seeking to enshrine the rights of nature in law.

“This is another act of environmental capitulation by the McGowan Government, after it dismissed the Environmental Protection Authority’s greenhouse gas emissions guidelines in March.

“When it comes to protecting our environment, the major parties are both the same and are ignoring the community – only The Greens will defend native forests from logging, protect endangered species from extinction and take real action to address climate change.

Comments attributed to Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens forests spokesperson:

“This rollover is the first by a Labor government.

“While federal Labor talks tall about strengthening federal environmental laws, the WA Labor Government is allowing precious native forests to be destroyed for another 20 years.

“The Regional Forest Agreements give loggers guaranteed supplies of timber from our forests and exempts them from federal environmental laws.

“They were set up last century to protect the environment and give certainty to the industry.

“They’ve done neither.

“They are destroying our native forests, pushing threatened animals to the brink of extinction, and are failing to provide a secure future for regional communities.

“It’s time to shift wood production to 100% sustainable plantations from the current 88%.

“We can do it, we just need political will from the major parties.”

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

Culture and Conservation Cost in Galling Government Gazettal

First Nations People are being ignored by current legislation according to South West MLC Diane Evers, after the State Government confirmed Lake Mullocullup will be gazetted for water-skiing.

The Greens (WA) spokesperson for wetlands Ms Evers expressed anger at the decision by the Department of Transport (DoT) for not taking into account the cultural and conservation values of the site.

Lake Mullocullup was added to the list of 41 registered sites under the Aboriginal Heritage Act last year and retains immense historical and spiritual values to Noongar people.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt told Ms Evers at the time that an application to the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee (ACMC) for consent under Section 18 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act would be required prior to gazetting the lake for water-skiing.

When questioned by Ms Evers in parliament yesterday, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson – the minister representing Transport Minister Rita Saffioti – confirmed the gazette for March 22 as it became clear that ACMC approval would not be required until infrastructure changes such as signage or road works were needed.

Should this occur, in line with the State Government’s advice from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, a Section 18 application would be required – meaning only then will First Nations People be considered.

Ms Evers said she was hopeful the rights of the Noongar community would be upheld as the State Government now has a legal responsibility to the health and safety of skiers, which it cannot uphold without ACMC consent.

The lake continues to be used regularly for cultural and spiritual activities for Noongar people, and has been both a birthing site and watering place on their near-500 kilometre treks from Albany to Esperance.

Illegal water-skiing and boat use has occurred at the lake for over 35 years but will now fall under the purview of DoT to ensure the site is safe and accessible.

COMMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“The State Government and Department of Transport have backed themselves into a corner on this issue, having been toothless in stopping the desecration of Lake Mullocullup to date.

“We now have a ridiculous scenario where an activity is deemed appropriate in spite of cultural considerations, and facilitating safe use may not be possible if those considerations are subsequently addressed.

“The decision highlights a moral deficiency in the box-ticking processes government departments abide by, where they do not have to consider their interconnection with other departments, and operate in silos.

“What is just as upsetting is the City of Albany escalating the matter to state level on the back of a split council decision after pitiful consultation took place with Noongar people.

“It was so bad that another consultant would later explain just how deficient the first consultation had been.

“Instead of taking responsibility and stopping water-skiing when the City had the authority to do so, those councillors who voted in favour of the gazette ignored our First Nations People in favour of an illegal activity normalised by 35 years of turning a blind eye.

“In fact, one councillor described consultation with First Nations People as a “waste of time” as “eight of the local Noongar families and their Elders objected to the gazettal”.

“When viewed in context of a recent State Administrative Tribunal decision to allow mining extraction in the Nullaki Peninsula conservation zone, despite two unanimous refusals from the City of Albany, it is clear something fundamentally broken in our bureaucracy.

“I want to say how important it is to have steps in place to make sure that the wrong decisions do not happen, because it will disturb not only cultural values, but environmental values also.

“Lake Mullocullup is one of the few remaining freshwater lakes in that area and it is too valuable to lose.

“This process has been blind to its perverse consequences, has caused mental anguish and is a waste of time and money.

“The mother of my friend Carol Pettersen, a Noongar woman who lives in Albany and a staunch defender of the site’s significance, was born at Lake Mullocullup 102 years ago.

“As Carol so eloquently put it, to be able to sit in reverence of the solitude and beautiful environment at Lake Mullocullup, only to be suddenly disturbed by the engine roar of a motorboat, would be akin to hearing a motorbike in a church.

“I remain hopeful that the rights of First Nations People will be upheld, but it should not take such a fight to get there.

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

MEDIA LIAISON:
Jack Hicken
Media & Communications Officer
0433 965 655

Nullaki Lime Pit Decision a Lemon

The Greens (WA) South West MLC Diane Evers has called on local and state government to challenge last month‘s State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) decision to grant conditional approval of a limestone mine on the Nullaki Peninsula (the Nullaki).

Intense community resistance has grown in recent weeks after multiple rejections by the City of Albany were ignored and overturned by the SAT, and Ms Evers believes the fierce reaction is justified.

“I strongly support local residents who argue this extraction disregards the objectives of the conservation zone and will be detrimental to the fragile environment of the Nullaki,” she said.

“92% of public submissions objected to, or raised concerns about, this extraction project.

“Its subsequent approval has directly ignored two unanimous decisions made by the City of Albany on the grounds a lime pit would be at odds with the environmental and social amenity of the area.”

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington has estimated The City has spent $150,000 on the matter and states it cannot afford the significant expense of an appeal to the Supreme Court.

However, a fauna study funded by the Natural Resource Management Program is currently being conducted and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation have not received an application for a clearing permit under part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

Ms Evers believes this provides valid grounds to challenge a determination by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in 2017 not to assess the proposal.

“I have been contacted by a number of concerned constituents regarding the issue and consider State Government intervention to be essential,” she said.

“They have told me the stress and fear this decision has caused within their community will shatter their calm and peaceful lifestyle.

“For this reason, along with the undeniable environmental case and shortcomings in the proponent’s due process, I will be writing to the EPA on the grounds the 2017 proposal requires a new determination.”

The establishment of a mine would see the extraction of up to 50,000 tonnes of lime per year from within a conservation zone instituted for the protection, enhancement and rehabilitation the flora, fauna and landscape qualities of the site.

Ms Evers said it was inconceivable to allow these competing objectives to exist together.

“The proposed lime pit will have a severe impact on the environment, including native flora and fauna of the area, contradicting the zoning objectives,” she said.

“There are also concerns that it will have significant negative impact on local businesses, tourism and property values.

“In my opinion, the SAT has once again overstepped the mark in overriding the good planning decisions of a local government, previously demonstrated when it approved a PUMA service station in Dunsborough.

“Of course we saw the outcome in that case, when compelling community opposition to inappropriate development resulted in a successful appeal in the Supreme Court.”

The Nullaki is home to habitat for critically endangered animals and in December 2018 the Nullaki Conservation Group discovered a range of mammals, reptiles and insects thriving during an official flora and fauna survey.

For more information and updates, visit thenullakicommunityactiongroup.org

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

Lake Jasper Set for National Park Win?

Success in a three-decade effort to protect Western Australia’s largest freshwater lake is in sight after the State Government signalled its intention to prevent any future mining at the site of Yoondadadup Lake Jasper.

The Greens (WA) South West MLC Diane Evers will table a petition in parliament today containing almost 1000 signatures supporting the objection of a 2018 mining lease application at the location.

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition received a letter from Premier Mark McGowan regarding the matter on Thursday and Ms Evers anticipates a victorious outcome for the environmental protection group as a consequence.

“I was pleased to learn of the Premier’s intention to reinstate Yoondadadup Lake Jasper into D’Entrecasteaux National Park,” she said.

“The Premier’s assurance is the culmination of decades of effort and coordinated protest to protect the environment.

“Such a commitment must be credited to the coalition and its co-conveners, Andy Russell and Geoff Evans, who have faced down multiple mining lease applications before this result could be achieved.”

In response to parliamentary questioning by Ms Evers late last year, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he would write to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum to suspend consideration of the current application.

However, the Premier’s words last week was his government’s first explicit statement in support of ending any prospect of mining adjacent to the significant wetland.

Ms Evers believed this decision was brought about by dedicated community activism to ensure a crucial environmental asset was preserved.

“The cultural heritage and environmental values of the Gingilup-Jasper wetland system would have been destroyed by mining, which was clearly highlighted by those defending it,” she said.

“I’m very proud to have represented these concerns in Parliament in the form of two Member’s Statements and now, tabling a second petition in the Legislative Council.

“This end result after years of effort will be the protection of this unique ecological treasure.

“Full credit must be given to the driving forces of the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition — although we must now ensure the good intentions of Premier McGowan are converted into reality.”

In 1988 a Labor Government legislated to excise land from D’Entrecasteaux National Park and allow mineral sand mining immediately adjacent to Yoondadadup Lake Jasper.

Then, in 1994, the Court Government promised to return the excised land into D’Entrecasteaux National Park if the mining proposal in this area did not proceed, however, when the mining lease was discontinued a decade ago, the Barnett Government did not honour this commitment.

ABOUT D’ENTRECASTEAUX COALITION:

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition was established 30 years ago to raise public awareness about the initial application to explore for mineral sands in the D’Entrecasteaux National Park and subsequent mining lease applications adjacent to Yoondadadup Lake Jasper within the D’Entrecasteaux National Park.

ABOUT YOONDADADUP LAKE JASPER

  • The Gingilup-Jasper wetland system is a major nursery area for freshwater fishes and frogs, and harbours a unique array of plant species.
  • Scientific surveys of the area have ranked Lake Jasper-Gingilup wetlands third among the 27 south coast wetlands for species diversity and abundance.
  • Lake Jasper is recognised as one of the most important wetlands for waterbirds in the southwest.
  • There are 10 freshwater fish species in the south-west of WA, eight of them endemic.
  • Lake Jasper is a major nursery area for the native freshwater fishes.
  • Seven of the nine fishes known from the Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System occur at Lake Jasper, which also supports eight wetland frogs.
  • The national significance of D’Entrecasteaux National Park has been recognised by the Australian Heritage Commission, which has placed the Park on the Register of the National Estate.
  • D’Entrecasteaux National Park and Lake Jasper are the jewels in the crown of wilderness areas in the South West and provide tourism that is vital to south coast communities.

 

GET IN TOUCH:

Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

Scheme Scheduling a Cause for Alarm

The Greens (WA) regional development and water spokesperson Diane Evers is concerned the timing of the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme’s (SFIS) referral to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) could be a strategic attempt to avoid proper scrutiny from Manjimup and Pemberton residents.

A seven-day public comment period closes on Thursday, February 7 and Ms Evers believes SF Irrigation Co-operative Ltd, the industry body responsible for referring the proposal to the EPA, have not followed good process by remaining silent.

“The public comment period for this assessment opened on a Friday and has not been supported with any kind of formal announcement by SF Irrigation Co-operative Ltd or the State Government,” she said.

“The proponents of the SFIS are well-aware of opposition to the plan and would no doubt appreciate the vociferous opposition being minimised during an environmental assessment.

“EPA assessment of this scheme is absolutely necessary and awareness of the scheme’s adverse environmental impact, coupled with unfair outcomes for those who are not involved, is the reason for community opposition to the proposal.

Ms Evers has encouraged Manjimup and Pemberton landowners who are concerned about such issues to make a submission to the EPA before Thursday asking for a full public environmental review.

“The SFIS will have a major environmental impact in the forested catchment of one of the few remaining freshwater rivers in the South West Region,” she said.

“With long term consequences on the Donnelly River, the cost of food production and major unnecessary environmental impacts on the forest, action must be taken to show the McGowan Government how unsuitable this scheme is.”

Ms Evers also said the scheme, which was originally mooted for referral to the EPA almost a year ago, has drawn strong criticism from local growers as being inequitable because of how it favours only those who could afford to buy-in.

“$70 million of government funding is being put into a project that will benefit 68 people, who have pledged to contribute $10 million,” she said.

“Those 68 people who have the resources to invest in the project are essentially receiving a 700 per cent subsidy from the Government for land they purchased, knowing there was limited water catchment.

“Meanwhile, self-supply water users are disadvantaged by a price being unnecessarily applied to water used for food production and existing applications for water allocations are being refused due to surface water resources being fully allocated.

The SFIS scheme was proposed by the previous Barnett ministry as part of its Water for Food project and in November a 322-signature petition was presented to parliament requesting a moratorium be enacted until independent scrutiny of public consultation, economic and environmental issues could be carried out.

Comments on the referred proposal asking for a full public environmental review can be made on the EPA’s website by following this link.

Fact File: Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme
  • State and federal funding for SFIS more than 85% of its total cost, despite scheme water being limited to just 68 people who make a financial contribution1
  • Scheme proposes construction of a 15 gigalitre dam and 250km pipeline distribution network through private farm land. Landowners who have not contributed receive no benefit even if pipelines pass through their property1
  • In December 2017 the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation temporarily suspended new water allocation licences in eight sub-catchments of the Donnelly River catchment area for 12 months1
  • As a result, 11 water allocation applications were refused in the Warren-Donnelly catchment area in the 12 months prior to November 20182
  • Under the SFIS, as an example, a food producer constructing a new 100ML farm dam will be required to pay $100,000 for access to water and annual charges by SFIS of $17,2001
Fact File: Manjimup/Pemberton Agricultural Area
  • Manjimup area regarded as the ‘food bowl of the South West’1
  • Self-supply water is the basis of $230 million in food production in the Shire of Manjimup1
  • Manjimup and Pemberton Landowners group wrote to State Premier Mark McGowan (January 2018), State Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan and Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack (both January 2019) on the matter1,3
  • Manjimup and Pemberton Landowners group have requested a full public environmental review of SFIS1
  • Success of food production in Manjimup and Pemberton is based on self-supply water in private farm dams1
References:
  1. Diane Evers letter to Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, 4 October 2018
  2. Parliamentary Debates (HANSARD), 22 November 2018
  3. Manjimup and Pemberton Landowners letter to Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food, 18 January 2019

 

Get in touch:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070