Later this year I will present a petition to parliament objecting to the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme.
In anticipation of this, I encourage everybody who supports the majority of members in the local community and principal petitioner Brian Vallentine to print copies and collect at least 20 signatures.
This petition must be returned to my office by 24 June 2019 (details below). This petition must not be altered or otherwise marked up or amended. Only original signatures are permitted.
Please return this Petition by 24 June 2019 to:
Hon. Diane Evers MLC of PO Box 949, West Perth WA 6872
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 the April 2019determination 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.
Diane remains 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, motivated by the following factors:
- The business plan is out of date and relies on old data for the prices and supply of produce;
- There is no guarantee that water flows will be sufficient to fill the dam;
- The costs of the pipeline installation and routing across private land is out of date;
- The destruction of forest for the dam, weir and pipeline is unnecessary and will destroy native bushland, habitat and culturally significant sites;
- The water flows past the dam & weir will be altered and have a subsequent impact downstream;
- The environments in the dam and the river above the weir will be altered;
- The water flows have not been proven to come from the forest rather than from the cleared agricultural land above the Donnelly River weir, where water restrictions impede opportunities to develop these properties;
- The properties with access to the scheme water are gaining substantial personal benefit from a very targeted government handout that could be used more equitably by a greater cross section of the community.