It is hard to believe we are already a quarter of the way through 2019. Time stops for no one, nor does the need to ensure the voices of the South West Region are being heard in parliament.
It has certainly been a busy period, with big developments since Christmas break, beginning with the unexpected Rock Lobster fiasco at the dawn of 2019 and already this year, the McGowan Government has let Western Australians down by dismissing the Environmental Protection Authority’s greenhouse gas emissions guidelines.
We also saw the Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs report on its inquiry into Compensation for Farmers as a Result of Contamination by Genetically Modified Material. I was disappointed-but-unsurprised by the outcome, however, I would challenge its finding that there is insufficient evidence to justify a departure from the common law mechanism.
Finally, a federal election will soon be upon us, with the date to be possibly called as soon as this week. To ensure A Future for All of Us, we need to elect Jordon Steele-John back into the senate as our Western Australian representative, and support Australian Greens candidates such as South West representatives Jodie Moffat in Canning, Nerilee Boshammer in Forrest, and Nelson Gilmour in O’Connor.
If you would like to contribute and help volunteer, get in touch with The Greens (WA) by visiting: https://greens.org.au/wa/volunteer — get involved and be the change you want to see in the world!
YOONDADADUP LAKE JASPER
I’m delighted to report that efforts to protect Western Australia’s largest freshwater lake may be close to success!
In February the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition received a letter from Premier Mark McGowan signalling his government’s intention to prevent any future mining at Yoondadadup Lake Jasper.
The Premier’s commitment came just days before I tabled a petition in parliament containing almost 1000 signatures supporting the objection of a 2018 mining lease application at the site.
This is a tremendous outcome for the environmental protection group and is culmination of their decades of effort and coordinated protest to protect the environment.
I have been proud to represent the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition and wider community in parliament and full credit must be given to the coalition and its co-conveners, Andy Russell and Geoff Evans, who have faced down multiple mining lease applications before finally receiving this wonderful news.
WARRIUP SWAMP-LAKE MULLOCULLUP
Sadly, at the very end of March, the State Government announce that the Department of Transport would proceed with the gazettal of Warriup Swamp-Lake Mullocullup for recreational water-skiing.
I wrote last year to the City of Albany and the Minister for Lands, Planning and Transport expressing objection of the gazettal, urging the City and the Minister to listen to the local Aboriginal people, respect the significance of the area and preserve such an important cultural and historical site.
These appeals to Minister Saffioti and an Albany council, whose own report described their consultation on the matter “a mess”, were not heeded. The State Government has capitulated to the desires of a small number of water-skiers who have illegally used the lake for three-and-a-half decades, while sacred cultural significance has been virtually ignored. Other recreation skiing options remain available, but cultural history is uniquely precious.
The fight to reverse this decision continues, with upcoming local government elections and the City’s responsibility to now manage the site for recreational use both posing opportunities to press for a different outcome.
For those affected in the Noongar community, as well as local landowners, this has been a poor outcome of bureaucratic box-ticking.
NANNUP MUSIC FESTIVAL
During the March Labour Day long weekend I attended the Nannup Music Festival to hold a community conversation on the Sunday afternoon.
We discussed the future of our regions and my concept of Rural Regeneration — a future where unique bio-diversity attracts tourism, local food production thrives, our energy sources are renewable, and local economies, service, healthcare and education are high-quality.
It was invaluable to meet with those who live regionally, closer to the city and, for some, have experienced both.
As an added benefit, along with many other terrific acts and attractions, I also had the pleasure of dancing along to the Ripple Effect Band, the first all-female rock band from Arnhem Land!
I can’t wait to return next year.
NULLAKI LIME PIT
One issue I have called on local and state government to join me in challenging is January’s State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) decision to grant conditional approval of a limestone mine on the Nullaki Peninsula (the Nullaki).
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 of the flora, fauna and landscape qualities of the site.
Intense community resistance has grown after multiple rejections by the City of Albany were ignored and overturned by the SAT, and 92% of public submissions objected to, or raised concerns about, this extraction project.
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.
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.
I believe there may be valid reasons to challenge the 2017 determination by the EPA not to assess the proposal, and will write to the EPA requesting they reconsider their determination.
SCHOOL STRIKE 4 CLIMATE
Kids care about their future: fact. It was a privilege — and so much fun — to join my Greens (WA) colleagues in supporting thousands of schoolchildren who took to the streets of Perth to strike for climate action on March 15.
Protecting our forests is a huge tool in the battle against climate change, but just to see, meet and walk beside the leaders of tomorrow demanding change made me so hopeful and proud.
Young or young-at-heart, we can only do this together, so to the Swedish shool girl who began this campaign, proving a movement can begin with one: thank you Greta Thunberg.
Lobster catch being measured.
WESTERN ROCK LOBSTER INDUSTRY
Did you hear the one about the minister and the lobster industry?
In January it seemed impossible to avoid debate about the State Government’s plans to nationalise 17% of the western rock lobster industry — quite contrary to the low-key response the Fisheries Minister may have expected when announcing the plan over the Christmas break.
The proposed changes suggested increasing the commercial catch to 8,000 tonnes.
As The Greens (WA) marine and coastal issues spokesperson I could not support government intervention in a market where economic objectives were in conflict with environmental sustainability — especially when the effect of climate change on the population of the species is so potentially volatile.
The scheme outlined a commercial plan for a five-year-plus period, despite sustainable catch quotas being based on four-year breeding projections, meaning these goals of conservation and profit were in unresolvable conflict.
As it turns out, after insurmountable political and industry opposition, the State Government withdrew its plan and reached a new agreement with the western rock lobster industry to increase the commercial catch by a smaller amount.
I’m relieved the punchline to this tale was to not risk the environmental sustainability of a natural resource for commercial reasons.
I was disappointed by Rick Mazza MLC’s motion in Parliament to disallow the December 2018 ban on fishing at Greens Pool in the Great Southern’s William Bay National Park.
With more than 238,000 visitors to the National Park each year, Greens Pool is a world-class natural tourist destination and asset to the south coast and the State.
I am committed to supporting the ban placed on all fishing at Greens Pool from December of last year.
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 will be speaking against the motion in parliament, indicatively scheduled for May.
Diane with members of the Jarrahdale Forest Protectors and Institute of Foresters of Australia during her visit to Jarrahdale, March 27.
JARRAHDALE FOREST TOUR
In late March I met with the Jarrahdale Forest Protectors and Frank Batini and John Clarke of the Institute of Foresters of Australia to discuss the impacts of raw bauxite mining in the region and ongoing management of rehabilitated mining sites.
That morning, prior to meeting, I was taken on a tour of the Jarrahdale forest by Frank and John to see first-hand the trials of thinning, re-vegetation efforts and other activities.
Bauxite mining by Alcoa is a real challenge, and there is urgent need for all stakeholders to look at ways to reduce the impacts.
It was an encouraging experience to facilitate discussion between local conservationists and foresters.
My focus is working together to provide a united front on issues where our values align as more will be achieved in collaboration to protect the health of our forests.
Busselton Jetty. In February, the future of The People Place community centre in Busselton was secured.
THE PEOPLE PLACE PROTECTED
Finally, I was so glad to hear The People Place in Busselton has had its immediate future secured after they were recently considered ineligible for funding through a competitive tender process.
The community centre, previously funded under the former Supporting Communities Program, provides vital services and programs and has been a fixture in Busselton for over 25 years.
As a result of questions on the matter I asked when parliament resumed, the centre has been informed its tenure has been extended until 2024, with future State-funding flagged.
The news really put a smile on my face!
Summary of my activities
Busselton Jetty Tour | Busselton Festival Launch | Jerramungup CRC Community Meeting | Bremer Bay CRC Community Meeting | A Window to the Wetlands – Lake Vancouver Walk | Busselton Jetty Swim Sundowner | WA Forest Alliance Stall at Mount Claremont Markets | Boyup Brook Country Music Festival | Galactic Co-op Tour | Grains Industry WA Corporate Breakfast | Nannup Music Festival | Parliamentary ‘WA Seafood’ Function | Pew Foundation Launch: ‘An Extraordinary Natural Legacy’ | TWS Great Western Woodlands Photography Exhibition | WA Farmers Annual Conference: Trending Ag 2019 | Busselton Pride Parade with Senator Jordon Steele-John | Mandurah Crab Fest | Door knock in Waroona with Jodie Moffat, Candidate for Canning | WACA Ground Improvement Project presentation | Parliament Bike Ride | Wednesday’s Garden – Book Launch | Green Skills Albany – Sustainable Community Day | Western Ring Tailed Possum Presentation Albany | An Evening with Senator Jordon Steele-John, Albany | Walk for Refugees with Jordon Steele-John Denmark Students | Deco-Housing Denmark Open Day | Fairbridge Festival Regional Cultural Development Project | Southern Regional TAFE 2019 Student Awards Ceremony
Environmental Defenders Office | Fishing Families WA | Western Rock Lobster Council | Beyond Zero Emissions | World Animal Protection | Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-Operative | Jerramungup Shire Staff and Councillors | Fitzgerald Biosphere Group | 888 Abalone Farm Site Visit | Carol Petterson and Jane Jeffries – Lake Mullocullup | Emanuel Exports Fremantle Wharf sheep loading site visit | The People Place Busselton | SMART Drum Line Trial Update meeting | Nullaki Peninsula Community | WA Division of the Institute of Foresters Australia | Police Union President | 4wd Association | Collie-Preston / South West – school visit to Parliament House | Mandurah / South West – school visit to Parliament House | Animals Welfare Working Group | WA Forest Communities Network | Bunbury student Climate Change activists | South West Agroforestry Network | Walpole Community: Manuka Life | Jarrah Forest field visit with Institute of Foresters | Jarrahdale Forest Protection Group | Total Green Recycling E-Waste Recycling Tour
Lake Jasper – Mining
Questions Asked in Parliament:
State of the Environment Report | South West Bushfire | Albany Wave Energy Project – Radiotherapy Funding | Regional Forest Agreement