I’m so pleased to be writing this after the good news was finally confirmed in late June — the campaign to ‘Keep Jordon Rolling’ in the Senate is officially a success, as Jordon Steele-John has been re-elected for a further six years!
With this good news in mind, I am delighted to bring you a bumper edition of my redesigned EversGreen newsletter, as there has been plenty to reflect on over the past few months.
While many would be disappointed at the re-election of the Morrison Government, it was encouraging to know the Australian Greens increased their primary vote and retained all its seats.
Here’s to all the wonderful staff and volunteers who worked towards maintaining all Greens seats in federal parliament — as well as our South West candidates Jodie Moffat, Nelson Gilmour and Nerilee Boshammer. This federal election only reinforced the role we have to play in building a better future for all of us.
LEWIN FOREST BLOCKADE: THE POWER OF PROTEST
I spent two days in early June with forest protesters at Lewin block, near Manjimup, broadening my understanding of protest and seeking to protect the Karri forest from being clear-felled for woodchips by the Forest Products Commission.
There was good news later in the month when the Minister for Forestry confirmed Lewin block would not be cut during the winter months, up to August 31. Credit and acknowledgment must be given to the hard work put into getting this reassurance by the WA Forest Alliance (WAFA).
Thank you to WAFA and the dedicated protesters who brought awareness to the magnificent old trees at risk of being lost. I was proud to join you for a small period of the blockade.
REGIONAL FORESTS AGREEMENT: THE JOB IS NOT FINISHED YET
Despite many encouraging wins in the past three months, there was bad news in May as native forests, critically endangered species and climate change mitigation were all put at risk due to the McGowan Government’s renewal of the state’s Regional Forest Agreement (RFA).
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 the total number of endangered and critically endangered species to 24, with none lowered in categorisation during this time. With this in mind, I 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,
Unfortunately, I was appalled at Premier Mark McGowan’s decision, in alliance with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to renew the RFA.
When it comes to protecting our environment, only The Greens will defend native forests from logging, protect endangered species from extinction and take real action to address climate change.
PARLIAMENTARY EXCHANGE VISIT TO CANADA
In April, along with fellow members of State Parliament, I participated in a two-week exchange program to Canada hosted by the Saskatchewan Legislature in Regina.
As part of this visit I learned about the Legislature’s chamber, committee operations and overall management of the Parliament in the first week, before being paired with David Forbes, MLA for the New Democratic Party in the second week. David and I paired to share information and experiences on constituency issues in our electorates.
Just like the Parliament of Western Australia, the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan also has a beautiful library. The entire landscape between Regina and Moose Jaw features architecture like that seen in the Legislative Building and their First Nations people are featured in artwork throughout.
As part of the trip and learning about the Legislature, I also had the opportunity to meet the Saskatchewan’s Premier, Scott Moe.
SOUTHERN FORESTS IRRIGATION SCHEME: A SCHEME OF INEQUITY AND UNFAIRNESS
Throughout the last few months, I have been consulting with concerned members of the community about the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme (SFIS), culminating in a petition to Parliament on behalf of 862 signatories calling for the scheme to be stopped — with over 2,000 people doing the same in the form of an online petition.
A drive to Yanmah in June led to a chat with members of the Don’t Dam the Donnelly community group. These farmers are not happy about the scheme’s impact on the river and the planned dam at Record Brook and discussed with me the need to reassess how water rights are determined.
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.
At its core, this is a scheme of inequity and unfairness. The message is clear and I’m proud to amplify it: Don’t Dam the Donnelly.
RURAL REGENERATION: A WIN FOR THE JERRAMUNGUP COMMUNITY
The Department of Education has agreed to match, dollar-for-dollar, the Shire of Jerramungup’s fund to replace the Community Swimming Pool — resulting in a much-needed $2-million-dollar upgrade to the facility.
In April I wrote to the Minister for Education to let her know I had been contacted by constituents from Jerramungup who expressed their concerns over the future of the Community Pool, located on the Jerramungup District High School reserve.
The Jerramungup pool is a vital community asset that services many schools in the region, as well as the wider community and visiting tourists, with the next closest public pool over 170kms away.
Rural Regeneration – attracting people to and keeping people in the regions — is such an important issue to me. As such, I applaud the Shire on taking the initiative to seek alternative solutions and also the State Government for recognising this need to support our regional and rural communities.
FISHING BAN: GREENS JOY AT GREENS POOL
I have been liaising with the Great Southern community regarding Greens Pool, a natural tourist destination and asset to the south coast, as far back as December of last year. Prior to a spearfishing ban announced by the Minister for Fisheries in early 2019, almost 1000 people had signed a petition to protect the popular sanctuary and family-friendly swimming spot.
A disallowance motion in Parliament was subsequently defeated in May and I was pleased to support the ban by voting to uphold the McGowan Government’s original decision.
Sometimes common sense wins out and in this case, I’m delighted this is the outcome.
JUST HOME MARGARET RIVER: CHARITY STARTS IN HOMES
Great news from the team at Just Home Margaret River, a housing justice organisation working with community members to facilitate appropriate, accessible, low cost, secure and sustainable housing options for all.
The Department of Lands has spoken to the organisation and it looks as though it will be allocated a block of land from Water Corporation, along with the offer from an organisation that works to provide suitable living options to assist with the design of future dwellings on the land.
This is a wonderful outcome for a hard-working group of people seeking to help those in the Augusta-Margaret River community in need of housing and shelter.
SCHOOL STRIKE 4 CLIMATE: FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE
Finally, I have been so encouraged by the committed students who are maintaining the Greta Thunberg-inspired School Strike 4 Climate movement by rallying outside Parliament House every Friday until they see significant action on climate by the McGowan Government.
This type of peaceful, but meaningful protest, shows the willingness among the youth of Western Australia to protect the planet for their futures. We need them.
2019/20 STATE BUDGET: CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
The McGowan Government handed down its third Budget in May and while I welcomed a return to surplus it became clear that overall strategies to combat the climate emergency must improve.
A water deficiency in the Shire of Ravensthorpe was announced during the very same week, with climate change clearly acknowledged as contributing to low rainfall in the region. Despite this, there was no allocation for climate change strategies in the 2019-20 budget papers.
(NO MORE) SHARK FIN SOUP BILL
June saw me table my first Bill in State Parliament, aimed at stopping the sale of shark fin products in Western Australia. The Shark Fin Prohibition Bill, tabled on June 6, proposed banning the sale of food containing shark fins, with possible fines rising to $250,000.
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, however, that thousands of kilograms of shark fins are imported into Australia each year through loopholes in existing regulations.
While it is unlikely that the McGowan Government will pick up and pass this Bill, it is my intention for these efforts to increase awareness in this cruel practice and add to existing efforts to protect shark populations, both in local waters and beyond.
Summary of my activities
The Alcoa Harvey Waroona Sustainability Fund’s 10th Anniversary | 2019 Parliament House Tourism Industry Function | Hidden Pantry Event, Balingup | Ballingup Small Farm Field Day | Paddle Out for the Bight | Canada Parliamentary Exchange Program | Bioenergy Symposium | Roelands Village Festival | WALGA Members of Parliament Breakfast | Opening Night Performance of Water, Black Swan State Theatre | The Women and Infants Research Foundation, Special Event at Government House | Election Day Polling Booth Albany | Forest Industries Federation WA (FIFWA) Sundowner | Climate Change Action Summit Margaret River | Demystifying Democracy Community Seminar, Bridgetown | 2040 Film Screening | Lewin State Forest Protest – Camp Out | Donnelly River Site Visit | Mandurah Greens Post-Election Celebrations | WA Forest Alliance Monthly Meeting and Dinner | Windrose Resistance Festival | Albany Greens Gathering | ASPG June Supper Seminar | Parliamentary Friends of Refugees event
Manuka Life | Woodside | WA Forest Alliance | Dardanup Community Members – Cleanaway Waste Site Expansion | Lower Blackwood Land Conservation District Committee | Manjimup Community Members – Southern Forest Irrigation Scheme | Bunbury Councillors – Greenbushes Railway Line | WA Hardwood Products | Peel Harvey Catchment Council – Point Grey marina proposal | Murdoch University Academic Chair of Environmental Engineering – Collie Innovation Hub | Appeals Convenors – Greenbushes Lithium Mine Expansion | City of Mandurah Mayor | Headspace Mandurah | Environmental Defenders Office WA
Forestry – Western Australia Regional Forest Agreement | Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme | Forests Products Commission – Logging | Forestry – Lewin Block – Clear-Felling | Glyphosate Use and Canola prices
Consideration Of Tabled Paper:
Notice of Motion:
|Questions Asked in Parliament:
Alcoa – Bauxite | Bushfire Mitigation – Shire of Manjimup | Jangardup Mineral Sands Mine – Acid Sulphate Groundwater Plume | Forestry Products Commission – Biological Assets | South West Forests – Threatened Species | Forestry – Lewana Plantation – Fire | Alcoa – Jarrah Forest Rehabilitation | Fracking – South West Region | Marri Forests | Ramsar Wetland Nominations | Litter Accumulation Rates | Climate Change – Aquatic Ecosystems | Lithium Rail Supply Chain | Forest Management Plan 2014-2023 – Timber Yield | Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme | Agencies – Advertising [to all Ministers] | Forest Products Commission – Log Export | Water licences – Allocations | Police – Shooting – Gelorup | Forest Products Commission – Contract of Sale | Bushfire Mitigation – Shire of Manjimup | Forestry – Lewin Block – Clear-Felling | Greenpatch Development – Chromium-6 – Dalyellup | Banksia Road Waste Facility | Greenpatch Development – Gamma Survey – Dalyellup | Greenpatch Development – Contamination – Dalyellup | Parks and Wildlife Service – Prescribed Burning | Greenpatch Development – Dalyellup | Western Australian Planning Commission – City of Albany Local Planning Scheme 1 | Forest Management Plan 2014-2023- Timber Yield | Forestry – Regrowth Karri Thinning | Natural Resource Management 2019-20 State Budget | Western Australia Gourmet Escape – Contract | Banksia Road Waste Facility