Parliament resumed in August after a substantial winter break and it is wonderful to get back into the swing of things with some important strides both inside the Legislative Council and out.
Without doubt the most exciting thing to happen inside the chamber was to table a petition on behalf of 3,334 members of the South West community who are calling for the disused Bunbury to Greenbushes rail line to be returned to use. The principal petitioner, Therese, even made the journey up from the region via the Bunbury to Perth train line! I love trains and I hope the State Government gives proper consideration to how we can better manage freight haulage in the South West.
Outside Parliament, there were other journeys in the month of August — such as the one made by Belinda Teh, walking from Victoria to WA Parliament to raise awareness about the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, which was introduced into the lower house last week. I’m positive about the Bill’s chances to pass the lower house and look forward to supporting it, along with my Greens (WA) colleagues, when the time comes.
Last month I saw a community come out in the rain to demand answers to how a $70 million State- and Federal-funded water trading scheme can favour a few landowners, over the needs of the environment and the farmers in the catchment where the rain falls. I saw a community rally in rebellion against extinction on the steps of Parliament and another community celebrate the protection of native forests and old trees of significance, from logging.
I saw community, of diverse backgrounds and personal experiences, time and time again. This is what I will take back to Parliament once more, this week. Thank you to everybody who continues to turn out in this spirit.
LEWIN BLOCKADE: NATIVE FOREST PROTECTION CONTINUES!
Wonderful news from the committed and passionate WA Forest Alliance (WAFA) — Lewin stands!
According to WAFA, the Lewin forest blocks in the Southern Forests Region, along with the Channybearup, Barrabup and Nelson blocks, have been taken off the imminent list of forests scheduled for logging, after it was announced earlier this year they would only be protected until the end of August.
This magnificent, ancient forest would have been levelled over the past few months if it wasn’t for the incredible passion of those who defended it by occupying a campsite blockade throughout the winter months.
Thank you to the dedicated crew at WAFA – along with all those who supported the peaceful protest at Lewin throughout the blockade!
SOUTHERN FORESTS IRRIGATION SCHEME: A GATHERING OF THE CLAN
In August my office was informed of heavy-handed intimidation tactics being employed against some of the almost 1,000 people who signed a petition requesting the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme (SFIS) be stopped.
Information in the publicly available petition to WA Parliament, which I tabled in June, was alleged to have been used by backers of the SFIS to identify and target those who signed the document.
The claims came ahead of a community gathering at Glenoran Pool on August 23, which drew over 100 people. It was an important day, with frustrated landowners turning out during working hours – and in the rain – to demand answers from the water trading scheme’s representatives.
There were many questions, but few answers. The local community must be heard and the unfair, poorly consulted scheme stopped – and should any complaints be made and proven regarding the harassment of petitioners, I hope the Legislative Council exercises powers to hold these offenders to account.
BUNBURY TO GREENBUSHES RAILWAY LINE: THOUSANDS CALL FOR FREIGHT ON RAIL
I love trains – and as recently as July, I was hopeful of gathering a thousand (or more) signatures on a petition to parliament to reopen the railway line between Bunbury and Greenbushes, keeping in mind that WA Parliament does not accept anything other than hand-written, physical copies of petitions.
Well, thanks to the incredible efforts of the principal petitioner Therese Dignam, in August I tabled a petition in Parliament on behalf of 3,334 concerned members of the South West community, who wish to improve road safety by seeing haulage from the Greenbushes lithium mine put on rail.
For a physical petition spanning such a large area, this was a significant show of public support and I thank Therese for her substantial efforts – she even made the trip from the South West to Parliament via train!
VOLUNTARY ASSISTED DYING: BELINDA’S BRAVE WALK
On August 6 my colleague Robin Chapple and I joined Perth woman Belinda Teh on the steps of Parliament House as she completed the final steps of Belinda’s Brave Walk.
Western Australia, through this Bill, has a unique opportunity to finally allow for compassion, dignity and respect for terminally ill people, and that it is people like Belinda who give so much and campaign so hard for change.
The only words to say are thank you: thank you for campaigning so hard for voluntary assisted dying laws in WA and thank you for sharing your story so openly and honestly.
EXTINCTION REBELLION: DECLARATION OF REBELLION RALLY – WA PARLIAMENT
I was proud to join The Greens (WA) climate change spokesperson Tim Clifford at the Extinction Rebellion-organised ‘Declaration of Rebellion Rally on August 15, along with Robin Chapple and Alison Xamon.
As the remarkable School Strike 4 Climate activists have shown, there are loud and committed voices calling on government to do more to address the climate crisis.
I thank those who turned up in the spirit of peace and non-violence.
REGENERATIVE MEDIA: IN CONVERSATION WITH BARRY GREEN
I joined Barry Green from Radio WA and Western Tourist Radio for a conversation about regeneration: be it in rural areas, in agriculture or even in how we consume our media in this era of connectivity.
After a series stops throughout the region last month, this chat was a terrific encapsulation of many of the issue that continue to crop up.
I encourage anybody – whether in the South West Region, Perth or beyond –to visit http://www.touristradio.com.au/ and explore Barry’s Western Australian, independent holiday network, including Harvest Highway and Boronia Farm.
YOONDADADUP LAKE JASPER: UPDATED WEBSITE TO HOLD PREMIER TO ACCOUNT
The hard-working D’Entrecasteaux Coaltion has recently updated its website, as efforts continue to ensure Premier Mark McGowan follows through with his government’s intentions to return Yoondadadup Lake Jasper into the surrounding national park.
I have recently asked questions in parliament on this matter and we await progress in South West Native Title negotiations early next year, which have been flagged by the State Government as the primary obstacle to finalising this important action.
GREAT WALK OF PEACE: WALK FOR FORESTS BEGINS!
I was pleased to see Fox, one of the organisers of the upcoming Great Walk of Peace, during August.
Fox and a group of passionate forest protectors concluded their fundraiser in the last few months and will be creating dynamic energy towards affecting change when they begin their journey from the Great Southern Region to Perth in late September.
Some of the visions for the walk include exposing the threats to Old Growth Forests which are continuing despite the efforts of so many, whilst showcasing the magnificent communal, supportive spirit that exists behind The Great Walk Network.
I look forward to joining the group at some point along their journey — visit their website for more information.
REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE: SWCC SURVEY
Should you Adopt it? What’s Missing?
The State Government, via the Department of Primary Industries and Resource Development (DPIRD), has started looking into the practices of Regenerative Agriculture.
The South West Catchment Council has been funded by StateNRM to conduct a survey to find out what the key barriers are that might stop farmers and others from actually taking up regenerative agriculture. The results will be provided to DPIRD to help guide their future priority research.
The survey is anonymous and does not ask for any personal or financial information. If you recognise the growing knowledge of this practice’s benefits, please contribute to the survey.
READ DIANE’S RECENT MEDIA RELEASES
Summary of my activities
|Events: Prescribed Burning Conference UWA | Launch of UWA 2030 | Noongar Country Exhibition and Family Day at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery | Apex Bunbury Sleep Out | Gelorup Farmers Markets | National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Day of the Children at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre | Arrival at Parliament House of Belinda’s Brave Walk | A Night Against Extinction – EDOWA | 2019 WA Local Government Convention and Trade Exhibition | Opening Night of ‘Medea’ | Australian Society for Medical Research – Science Lands in Parliament Event | South Coast NRM Forum | DAVID HOLMGREN’s – Retrosuburbia Roadshow | Science in the Cafe: Living with fire in the Great Southern | OZ Opera’s touring production Madama Butterfly | Balingup Medieval Carnival | Dowerin Field Day | Lifetime Guarantee Film Screening | Official opening and naming of our residential therapeutic community||Rallies: WA Declaration of Rebellion Rally | Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme Community Action in Manjimup
Meetings: South West Agro Forestry Network | Constituent on South West Rail | Constituent on Lake Mullocullup | Land Save Organics | Shire of Murray and Peel-Harvey Catchment Council on Point Grey
Briefings: Local Government Committee | Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill | How to keep yourself a Stressed Parliamentarian– mindfully | Access to State-Managed Mental Health Services | Fraud in Local Government | Hear how Western Power is advancing its network and what it means to you | Briefing by Dr David Grube | Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP)
|Questions in Parliament: Forest Products Commission – Woody Biomass | Forest Products Commission – Competitive Neutrality Policy | Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme – Water Catchment, Volume and Run-Off | Forest Products Commission – Auswest Timbers Contract of Sale | Water Licences – Purposes | Water Licences – Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme | Environment – Wetlands Coordinating Committee | Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme – Aboriginal Heritage Survey | Bunbury Outer Ring Road Route – Southern Section | Lithium Rail Supply Chain | Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme | Forest Products Commission – Alcoa Timber | Mining – Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System | Biomass Energy Plant – Collie | Environment – Banksia Road Waste Facility, Dardanup | Lake Mullocullup – Recreational Use | State Of the Environment||Member’s Statements: Bunbury-Greenbushes Rail Line – Lithium Mining | Extinction Rebellion Rally – Parliament House Prescribed Burning | Deliberative Democracy
Motions: 2019-20 State Budget – Surplus | Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs – Forty-Ninth Report – “Mechanisms for Compensation for Economic Loss to Farmers in Western Australia Caused by Contamination by Genetically Modified Material” | Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development – Machinery-of-Government Changes | Standing Committee on Estimates and Financial Operations – Seventy-Seventh Report – “2017-18 Budget Cycle-Part 2: Annual Report Hearings” | Joint Audit Committee – First Report – “Second Review of the Financial Management Act 2006”