Withdrawn Lease Brings Drawn-Out Environmental Victory A Step Closer

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has welcomed news that a three-decade effort to protect Western Australia’s largest freshwater lake from cultural and environmental harm is a step closer, after a mining lease was withdrawn by its proponent at a site adjacent to Yoondadadup Lake Jasper.

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for wetlands, had previously tabled a petition in WA Parliament containing almost 1000 signatures supporting the objection of any mining lease applications at the site. A 2018 mining lease application submitted for the location by Strategic Sands Pty Ltd was withdrawn on December 1, leaving oncoming native title settlement and stakeholder input as the only remaining barriers to the return of the lake to the surrounding D’Entrecasteaux National Park.

Last year the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition, a group of local environmental protection bodies, received a letter from Premier Mark McGowan indicating future intention to reinstate Yoondadadup Lake Jasper into D’Entrecasteaux National Park. Subsequently, after questioning in parliament by Ms Evers earlier this year, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions confirmed that the majority area previously under application for the mining lease would be pursued for addition to D’Entrecasteaux National Park.

This assurance from the Premier was the culmination of decades of effort and coordinated protest to protect the environment by the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition and its co-conveners, Andy Russell and Geoff Evans, who had faced down multiple mining lease applications before this result could be achieved.

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. In 1988, a WA Labor Government legislated to excise land from D’Entrecasteaux National Park and allow mineral sand mining immediately adjacent to Yoondadadup Lake Jasper, however, 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. Despite the previous mining lease becoming discontinued a decade ago, the Barnett Government did not honour this commitment.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“I am so pleased that progress, slow and frustrating as it might be, has been made on an important environmental issue spanning many decades of effort and community activism.

“The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition and its co-conveners, Andy Russell and Geoff Evans, deserve particular praise for their efforts over the years – without their single-minded efforts to see the lake protected, we would not be on the brink of such an environmental victory.

“I recognise that South West Native Title settlement is a pressing issue to be resolved in this matter, but I now call on the WA Labor Government and Premier McGowan to affirm its commitment to reinstating Yoondadadup Lake Jasper into D’Entrecasteaux National Park.

“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.

“Yoondadadup Lake Jasper is one of the most important wetlands for waterbirds in the South West and with is a major nursery area for the native freshwater fishes.

“Meanwhile, 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

Climate Policy Fails to See Forests for the Trees

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has criticised the McGowan Government’s climate change policy as lacking ambition and the necessary environmental protections to address the climate crisis.

After almost four years in government, WA Labor finally released its key climate policy yesterday and Ms Evers said she was upset at the lack of action to tackle climate change, with the Government undermining global efforts to cut emissions by allowing Western Australia’s carbon pollution to continue rising.

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for forests, said the Western Australian Climate Policy was a continuation of the Government’s unwillingness to take action to protect the environment for future generations, with nothing in the policy to grow and protect the state’s native forests for carbon sequestration. 

The Government’s policy has failed to address drastically rising emissions from the LNG industry by not enacting legislated interim emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.

Ms Evers said that, without such targets or a carbon budget, this policy would provide no real strategy on how the Government would effectively reduce emissions.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“With no vision for the future and no genuine attempt to address climate change, WA Labor’s lack of ambition is damaging our ability to tackle climate change.

“We are in a climate crisis, but WA Labor has created a policy that allows their major fossil fuel donors to keep polluting.

“Native forests are a valuable and irreplaceable source of environmental, economic and social benefits and forest management must address the urgent challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

“The McGowan Government’s climate change policy fails to address this intrinsic value to Western Australia, just as it has done in its failure to address the logging and destruction of our forests.

“One page of the policy even refers to ‘Enhancing our climate resilience’ with a photo of beautiful WA native forest – despite no mention of how protecting and growing such forest can contribute to such resilience.

“I’m sick and tired of this Government paying lip service to its climate responsibilities – taking action does not mean putting pretty photos on documents to greenwash their environmental record.

“Scientists are telling us this is a critical decade – we must do better to stop cutting down our native forests, to grow and protect them, maximise carbon drawdown and sequestration, and create a better future for WA and future generations.”

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

Petition Pursues Promise to Protect Paradise

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers will continue to campaign on behalf of community calls to protect the South West environment for future generations when she tables a petition in WA Parliament today to halt the controversial resort and housing development proposed for Margaret River’s Gnarabup Headland.

Ms Evers has backed efforts by the local community and protest group Preserve Gnarabup to stop the development from going ahead and has urged the WA Government to protect the narrow strip of fragile undeveloped limestone karst headland from the proposed development.

992 people have signed the petition to protect Gnarabup, with over 20,000 more signatures lending support to the petition through an online equivalent that is, unfortunately, ineligible for consideration by WA Parliament. Despite more than a decade of opposition by the community, the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River had approved the request for a subdivision to allow a hotel, mixed tourism short stay and permanent residential housing.

Ms Evers said that an increased understanding of the impacts of climate change including rising sea levels on the Western Australian coastline, as well as the enormous biodiversity importance of the Gnarabup environment, meant the Government must protect the land.

The tabling of the petition by Ms Evers comes after the Preserve Gnarabup group raised more than $50,0000 in under a fortnight to fund the cost of campaigning to reverse the development, with a $100,000 target in sight. The campaign aims to fund either the reservation of land or a buy-back of land on Gnarabup headland where the housing estate and resort is proposed.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“Margaret River is a world-renowned destination, not for its hotel developments, but for its pristine coastal environment and natural landscape.

“Almost a thousand locals oppose the destruction of the Gnarabup headland for the hotel development, with tens of thousands more lending their voice online.

“In July, I joined with others from the Augusta-Margaret River community when more than 400 people attended a rally at Reuther Park to oppose this proposal.

“This development proposal has caused significant angst in the community, who wish to see the land preserved for public purposes. 

“While it is important to ensure the local tourism trade is able to cater for visitors, this development would diminish amenity and access to valuable community and tourism assets, such as Margaret River’s only protected swimming and recreation beach.

“The message is clear to the McGowan Government: it is crucial that we do not sacrifice such important regional environmental assets.

“We need to preserve this coastline and encourage development for areas more suited to sustainability and managed tourism growth. 

“The impact of this town precinct development, with a multinational conglomerate at the centre of the plans, would significantly erode the natural environment and affect existing tourism businesses working hard to succeed in the region.

“Let’s not pave paradise to put up a Marriot.”

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

Bunbury Dolphins Deserve Dedicated Research Support

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has expressed concerns that the WA Government is not meeting the necessary standards required to protect the health and wellbeing of the dolphin populations ahead of planned Koombana Bay marina developments.

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for fisheries and marine, said she was alarmed by potentially irreversible environmental impacts the nearby development could have upon Bunbury’s dolphin population, with further research necessary in order to protect the welfare of the aquatic mammals.

According to parliamentary questions from Ms Evers to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson in 2019, the most recent dolphin population study was undertaken in 2013.

Ms Evers said she was concerned by a lack of ongoing research into dolphins, including the local population’s health, impact of boating movements and effects of tourism hand-feeding provisioning programs.

Last month, Minister Dawson confirmed data collection and analysis is currently not being undertaken by Murdoch University on behalf of the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre and the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) with regards to hand-feeding tourism activities.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“The WA Government has committed over $100 million dollars to the Bunbury waterfront transformation project, including the construction of new breakwaters at Casuarina Boat Harbour and Koombana Bay.

“While I understand some community desire for this investment, I remain very concerned about the health and wellbeing of the dolphins in the Bunbury area.

“Such a significant project must take into account the protection of the dolphin population so precious to those waters.

“A lack of support for environmental research by the WA Government and delayed Environmental Protection Authority assessments could mean the environmental impact of the expected development may not be known until it is too late.

“The proposal for this marina is in close proximity to the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre (BDDC), which engages in hand feeding of dolphins for tourism purposes.

“Concerns have been raised with my office that the marina development, along with these local hand-feeding provisioning practices, may be negatively impacting the welfare of local dolphin populations.

“According to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, ‘habitat degradation, increased vessel traffic, tourism, illegal food provisioning, entanglement in marine debris, noise pollution, environmental contaminants and disease all threaten the health of the local dolphin population’.

“Government investment into proper research is crucial to mitigate such risk, and it is critical that the WA Government does not simply prioritise tourism over dolphin welfare.

“There is currently no funding arrangement between the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and Murdoch University to undertake data collection and analysis on hand-feeding, with the Department instead relying on the BDDC’s own provisioning program to inform a review.

“I recognise that environmental studies are currently being undertaken by the South West Development Commission to support an environmental assessment, but with no population studies of dolphins inhabiting Bunbury coastal and inland waters completed since 2013, I encourage the WA Government to do what it can to support well-funded, independent research in this matter.”

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

Case For Manjimup Water Trading Dries Up As Community Opposition Intensifies

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers brought growing community discontent about the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme (SFIS) to Parliament this week when she tabled a petition on behalf of over 3000 people opposed to the Manjimup water-trading scheme.

The petition was tabled on behalf of the Save Our Donnelly River community group on Tuesday and is the second petition Ms Evers has brought to Parliament regarding the scheme in the last 18 months.

Ms Evers said the increase in the number of signatories to a petition to stop the SFIS – from 862 in June 2019 to the current total of 3112 petitioners – was reflective of the momentum of outrage about the scheme’s inappropriateness.

The petitioners have asked the Legislative Council to withdraw state government approval and funding for the SFIS on the grounds that:

  • The average flow in the Donnelly River has declined as much as 65% since the 1990s.
  • Numerous species of vulnerable, threatened and critically endangered species of flora and fauna will be directly impacted by this proposal.
  • The Stewart Tree, WA’s tallest tree, and numerous ancient trees of significance are located within the dam impact zone on Record Brook.
  • An 85 per cent taxpayer-funded project should not be in the control of a privately-owned cooperative, exclusively benefitting 15 per cent of the farmers in the region.

Ms Evers said recent information provided by the Department of Water and Environment indicated reliability of the water for the scheme was only 44 per cent over a modelling period for the previous nine years.

This reliability would be dependent on fluctuating frequency of wetter years in a drying climate and would have seen the proposed dam totally emptied of its usable capacity for five out of the nine years.

Ms Evers said it was becoming clear that the WA Labor Government was making public statements in support of action on climate and water scarcity, without doing the work to enact the necessary investment, policy and scrutiny of existing projects like the SFIS to mitigate the climate crisis.

In recent weeks, Water Minister Dave Kelly MLA has launched the Water Corporation’s Think climate change. Be waterwise campaign, highlighting “the impacts of climate change and the significant reduction in rainfall and runoff into our dams”, while also stating the “need to rethink how we use our precious water resources”.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“It is clear to an overwhelming majority that the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme is an inequitable water trading scheme with potentially disastrous impacts on community and the environment.

“The SFIS is 85 per cent funded by taxpayers, but locks-out 85 per cent of farming businesses, with 70 farming families to pay one dollar in eight for a water-trading scheme on state forest land.

“It is totally inappropriate for such an impactful scheme to be owned by the Southern Forest Irrigation Co-operative – made up of a handful of directors and an unknown, undisclosed investor – in an agricultural region needing sustainable water supply for all.

“The fact is that Western Australia is dealing with water rights reliant on an Act from 1914 and rainfall data going back to 1975.

“Good forest and the world’s tallest karri tree are at risk from the environmental impact of the SFIS, with 160ha of healthy, resilient forest to be inundated and 142ha of forest to be cleared.

“River flows will be squeezed to a drop for a project that lacks transparency and could yet be blocked on environmental grounds.

“With such inequity, community discord and a lack of transparency, the time has come for Premier McGowan and his ministry to show leadership on this issue now, before it boils over.

“Simply put: this is a bad project that must be stopped – we must not damn the Donnelly.”

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

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

Return to Rail the Key in Regional Regeneration

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

WA Greens MLC Diane Evers will take further steps on behalf of community organisation this week when she tables a petition in Western Australian Parliament supporting the re-opening of Tier 3 rail lines in regional Western Australia.

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for regional development, will table a petition supported by over a thousand signatories in the Legislative Council on Wednesday, opposed to the historic closure of Tier 3 rail infrastructure by the lessee, Arc Infrastructure.

The petition will call on the WA Labor Government to make a pre-election commitment to upgrade and re-open Tier 3 rail lines, ensure transparency in all future contracts, and explore options to return the control of Tier 3 lines to the State when Arc Infrastructure declares them to be uneconomical.

The community call has been led by the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance’s Jane Fuchsbichler, as the principal petitioner. Ms Fuchsbishler is seeking to redress the cost-shifting to the WA export industry, taxpayers and ratepayers through increased transport costs and road safety and maintenance. The shift to road transport also puts additional pressure on the environment with increased carbon emissions.

Ms Evers is a long-term campaigner for the re-establishment of freight on rail in regional Western Australia and tabled an earlier petition to WA Parliament on behalf of the South West community in August 2019, when over 3,000 signatories called for lithium from the Greenbushes mine to be transported by rail.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“Western Australians love trains and this petition is a clear request that the WA Labor Government must take further steps to recover Tier 3 rail lines.

“State and federal governments spend vast amounts on road infrastructure, while century-old rail networks that could perform much of the freight task, have been neglected.

“The southern wheatbelt region has the highest road toll in all of Australia and with intrastate regional road travel likely to reach the highest levels in history as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more important time to take action on road safety.

“Areas of the state with the highest levels of crop production also have the highest road death toll; rail transport and significant reduction of road train journeys would reduce the risks.

“Last year, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti admitted that truck movements on South West roads are set to increase sharply, and projected to quadruple beyond the year 2022.

“If WA Labor is genuine about jobs and recovery as our state transitions through this pandemic, it will exercise its power to restore the state’s rail networks, beginning with the reclamation of Tier 3 lines from appalling neglect.

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