Posts

Your South West Voice in Parliament: February 10-16

Diane has returned to Parliament for 2020 last week as the business of the Legislative Council resumed for another year.

While much of the political circus dies down over the Christmas parliamentary recess — a blind spot even a Prime Minister can befall — Diane has maintained a busy schedule throughout the first six weeks of the new decade. This pace has not let up with the return of WA Parliament either, as Diane has continued her customary travel right across the large South West Region.

In the final week of recess alone, Diane stopped in Albany, Margaret River, Bunbury and Busselton — with a visit back to Perth in the middle of her itinerary for commitments with The Greens (WA).

Prior highlights in the period prior to this included visiting the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Peace Boat, attending One Day in Fremantle, and time spent in Manjimup, Denmark and Bridgetown — amongst others.

While parliament and committee meetings mean retaining a presence in Perth for three to four days a week during sitting weeks, the weekends remain time for the South West.

With so much to achieve in 2020 — including repealing the Forest Products Act, seeking royalties for regions funding for regional landcare groups, championing sustainable agriculture and pursuing equitable water management practices in the face of climate challenges, Diane remains your Green South West voice in Parliament.

Your South West Voice in Parliament, October 14-20

Diane returned to Parliament last week as she combined her duties on the Legislative Council with committee and estimate hearings. There remained time to attend a number of important community events, however, which provided the opportunity to speak in Parliament about the importance of community and culture.

The headline issue of the week statewide was the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, which reached the Legislative Council for the first time. The Greens have a long history of supporting the right for people to choose how they die if they are near the end of their life and in unbearable pain, having introduced legislation to allow VAD in 2001, and again in 2010 — the first political party to do so. Diane will spake in Parliament on this debate in the coming weeks and recognises that 84% of Western Australians support VAD. It’s time that Parliament did too.

Topics Diane addressed in Parliament included biodiversity and her attendance at the State NRM & Coastal and New Economy Network Australia conferences — keep an eye on Diane’s Facebook page for the videos.

Outside of Parliament and as The Greens (WA) spokesperson for regional development, Diane was privileged to provide the opening address on day two of Linkwest’s People. Place. Partnerships. conference on Thursday, 17 October. Diane spoke of kart, koort and wirrin — the triple bottom line of indigenous culture — and the strength to be found in people and community within the regions. Diane has championed the importance of funding Community Resource Centres in recent months.

Diwali celebrations, the WA Forest Alliance Annual General Meeting and travels throughout the Southwest, from Mandurah to Albany (and back again) constituted just a few of Diane’s other activities during the week. Fortunately, a kind farmer in Frankland River came to Diane’s rescue on Sunday with a jerry can of petrol, ensuring she could complete her journeys. With the Legislative Council to commence the second week of a three-week stint on Tuesday, sometimes the important work of providing a South West voice in Parliament needs that little bit of help too.

EversGreen: October ’19

Click here for a full web version of this newsletter.

Well, wasn’t September a remarkable month for climate action? The month began with my Greens colleague Tim Clifford MLC calling on WA Parliament to debate whether to join a global movement of truth and declare a climate emergency – a motion that was watered down by amendments in a disgraceful manner by the McGowan Government.

The climate crisis is an emergency. Privately, WA Labor agrees with this, but in Parliament, they play political games. I believe humans can do better. I believe your State Government should do better.

One place where government is recognising the urgency for action is in the Great Southern! The Shire of Denmark became the second regional WA council to declare a climate emergency in September, proposing targets of a 50% reduction on current shire emissions by 2030, and zero emissions by 2050. I congratulate both the Shire and Tim Clifford for standing up on behalf of Western Australia — the call to recognise this emergency grows louder by the day.

Finally, on a personal note, I was so pleased to see the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill pass the lower house last month. I am proud to support this Bill — and for the valued commitment to the issue shown by The Greens (WA) spokesperson on end of life choices Robin Chapple MLC. I will do my part in ensuring the Legislative Council recognises how important this Bill is to the 88 per cent of Western Australians who support the choice to end suffering at the end of life.

Diane

LINKWEST & COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTRES: CRC FUNDING CONFIRMED, AS LINKWEST WAITS

There was good news for Community Resource Centres (CRC) in the past month, as the State Government confirmed in Parliament that funding will continue for two more years through to the end of the 21/22 financial year, without going through a reapplication process. This allows CRCs time for forward planning, as they work hard to meet the needs of communities.

Earlier in September, I asked the Government about its funding evaluation for Linkwest, the state association for community, neighbourhood and learning centres in Western Australia. The Government’s response was that it is still “considering” an evaluation report, despite less than six weeks before its funding is set to cease.

As the peak body supporting CRCs, this vital service cannot provide security to either its staff or the community as a result. I will continue working to push the Government to ensure clarity to Linkwest and the WA Community Resource Network – they deserve better.

Learn More

GREATER BUNBURY GREENS: GREEN COMMUNITIES GOING FORWARD

The Greater Bunbury Greens group hosted its Q&A forum, Green Communities Going Forward, on Saturday, 28 September. With The Greens (WA) members and supporters from the Forrest electorate in attendance, this forum was a terrific opportunity for the local membership to come together – all welcome!

I was joined on the Q&A panel by Nerilee Boshammer, Forrest candidate at the 2019 election; Pam Townshend, Margaret River Shire President; Dr Naomi Godden, Margaret River Shire Councillor; Sophie Greer, Director The Greens (WA); Elliot Sawers, Campaign Advisor to Senator Jordon Steele-John; and the wonderful Bella Burgemeister, local youth activist.

The future is bright when so many good people can come together in our regional centres!

Learn More

SCHOOL STRIKE 4 CLIMATE: NATION-WIDE CALL FOR CLIMATE ACTION NOW

Of course, a highlight of September was the hundreds of thousands of school students and workers across Australia who took to the streets, young and young-at-heart alike, to demand urgent action on the climate crisis.

Climate change affects all of us and it will take all of us to stop it. The major parties are unable to take the action we need – but seeing our young people in the streets to demand climate justice at the Bunbury – Global Strike 4 Climate on September 20 provides so much hope for the future.

I thank all those who came together in the spirit of hope and regeneration. Whether it is Greta Thunberg internationally or the South West Region’s own young activist leaders, like Bella Burgemeister from Bunbury, the youth of today will not stand for the failings of yesterday! We all have the opportunity to help fix the world as best as we can — and these are the people we must do it for.

Learn More

WARRIUP SWAMP LAKE MULLOCULLUP: NEW PETITION TO PROTECT SACRED CULTURAL SITE

I was struck by upsetting news in March, when the State Government announced that the Department of Transport (DoT) would proceed with the gazettal of Warriup Swamp-Lake Mullocullup for recreational water-skiing, with its sacred cultural significance virtually ignored. I’m thankful the community has not given up hope, with a new petition now being circulated, calling on the DoT to rescind the gazettal.

If you care about sites of cultural significance to First Nations people and protecting our wetlands from potentially harmful ecological impacts, I encourage you to print copies of this petition, collect at least 20 signatures and return it to the principal petitioner John Hassell.

SOUTHERN FORESTS IRRIGATION SCHEME: FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESS BEGINS

In August, I visited Glenoran Pool with 110 members of the local community, most of whom were strongly opposed to the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme. The Southern Forests Irrigation Cooperative’s representative made assurances that the upcoming environmental approval processes would be well-communicated to those affected by this water trading scheme.

The reality? In late September, a two-week public comment period commenced for the scheme’s referral for federal environmental review under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Communication from the Cooperative consisted of a single-line website post.

LAKE MUIR: COMMUNITY WIN AS LEASE APPLICATION WITHDRAWN

An excellent win for the South West environment and community as a mining lease application at Lake Muir was withdrawn last month.

A big congratulations to Geoff Evans and his collaborators, who liaised with my office on this issue. After securing assurance from the Premier that Western Australia’s largest freshwater lake, Yoondadadup Lake Jasper, will be returned to D’Entrecasteaux National Park after the settlement of South West Native Title negotiations in 2020, this is yet another demonstration of hope leading to successful outcomes.

REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE CONFERENCE: THE REGENERATION GENERATION INVESTING IN OUR FOOD FUTURE

It was so great to attend the Regenerative Agriculture Conference: Investing in our Food Future at Perth Stadium last month — what an exciting time to join with other farmers and industry stakeholders to look at sustainable, effective ways to manage agriculture for the benefit of our produce AND the environment.

This conference has inspired me and many others to get to work sharing farmers’ stories of success using regenerative methods. This is agriculture as it must be – industrial agriculture has had its day. The world must be fed using methods that don’t deplete our landscape or diminish the quality of our food.

By the way… conferences can be no plastic. My name badge was made from paper and string, with scannable access to conference materials. I love it!

Summary of my activities
September 2019

Events & Rallies:
50th Anniversary of Equal Pay Legislation Event | Social Reinvestment WA: Reducing incarceration for unpaid fines | Annual Australasian Study of Parliament Group Dinner | Bunbury Greens Coffee Morning | Guest Speaker – Koolbardies Group Mandurah | Forrest Greens – Bunbury | Planet Zero Summit | Regenerative Agriculture Conference. | Craig Sinclair Album Launch : “Is This Goodbye?” | WA Youth Orchestra – The Planets | O’Connor AGM, Albany | Voluntary Assisted Dying Rally at Parliament House | School Climate Strike
Parliament:

Questions:
Lake Mullocullup – Water Skiing | Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme – Stewart Tree | Bunbury Outer Ring Road –Southern Section | Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development – Regenerative Agriculture Organisational Chart. | Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme | Point Grey Marina | Community Resource Centres | Mining – Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System | Water Licenses – Allocations – Warren Donnelly Area. | Environment – Western Australian Biodiversity Audit | Forest Products Commission – Contracts of Sale

Motions:
Standing Committee on Estimates and Financial Operations – Seventy-seventh Report – “2017-18 Budget Cycle – Part 2: Annual Report Hearings” | Natural Resource Management Groups | Select Committee into the Effect of Red Tape on the Western Australian Economy | Joint Audit Committee – First Report – “Second Review of the Financial Management Act 2006” | 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” | Climate Change
Statements:
Forest Products Commission – Annual Report | Point Grey Marina – DevelopmentsMeetings & Briefings:
Agricultural Produce Commission Legislation Briefing | Animals Working Group, WA Greens | Various meetings with constituents on the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme | Meeting with NRM Experts | Meeting with Country Greens

EversGreen: September ’19

Click here for a full web version of this newsletter.

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.

Diane

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.

Read More

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!

Read More

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.

Learn More

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.

Learn More

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.

Listen Now

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.

Read More

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

Harassment Claims in Scheme Saga

Summary of my activities
August 2019

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”

EversGreen: July ’19

Click here for a full web version of this newsletter.

It is so good to be writing after the winter Parliamentary recess. Often, this time can be a fallow period for MPs, with an entire five weeks passing between sessions of the Legislative Council.

However, for The Greens (WA), July saw an opportunity for us to join with our national colleagues to take stock of a successful federal election, where our primary vote increased! Despite the Morrison Government being returned, this is not a claim either the Coalition or the Australian Labor can attest to.

On a personal and local level, it was wonderful to participate in the inaugural Country Greens Working Group during the conference. The regions are a heartland for so many caring and concerned environmentalists, farmers and members of the country community who see the value in taking sustainable, regenerative approaches to how we live in this vast land.

On a disappointing front, July saw the shocking confirmation that, due to inadequate methodology, centuries-old trees can be lost to logging in our native South West forests. You can read more about that below.

Meanwhile, opposition to the unfair Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme continues to grow on the back of a petition I tabled in parliament in June, while I also look forward to tabling a petition on behalf of the South West community advocating for freight haulage from the Greenbushes lithium mine to utilise new and existing rail infrastructure.

Beyond these exciting updates, there was also time for non-parliament activities. My husband Tony and I were fortunate enough to visit one of our daughters in Broome (along with meeting more Country Greens — woohoo!), while at the beginning of the month I took a trip to my birthplace of Chicago, to visit my Mum and extended family.

I look forward to sharing more in September, after the wheels of State Parliament have begun turning again. I’m sure there will be plenty more to report.

Diane

AUSTRALIAN GREENS NATIONAL CONFERENCE: INAUGURAL COUNTRY GREENS CONVENE

I joined my fellow Greens members and colleagues, as well as interested public attendees, in Adelaide for the Australian Greens mid-year National Conference on July 20.
As part of the conference I was delighted to participate in the inaugural session of the Australian Greens/Country Greens Working Group.

An untapped desire exists within the regions to build hope and grassroots power – I anticipate country connections will be strengthened both within the Greens and with the country as a result.

Read More

SOUTHERN FORESTS IRRIGATION SCHEME: OPPOSITION GROWS TO DAMMING RIVER FLOWS

I tabled a petition in Parliament back in June, with nearly one thousand signatures opposing the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme.

Since then I have received a very special poem from an 11-year-old self-identified farmer, Maggie, and have shared the poem on my website. I do hope you’ll take a look.

I am also making plans with the Don’t Dam the Donnelly community group for further action during August.

Follow me on Facebook to stay updated with the August action, or click the link below to keep up to date with the latest media on the SFIS – as well as Maggie’s poem!

Read More

BUNBURY TO GREENBUSHES RAILWAY LINE: PETITION EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS!

I have been advocating for over a year for the State Government to look into and consider supporting measures to put freight from the Greenbushes lithium mine back on existing, unused, tier three rail lines.

When Parliament resumes this week, I will table a petition with more than 2,700 signatures.

This is an excellent result and just another step towards finding a solution that improves road safety and reduces road damage from increasing truck transport.

OLD GROWTH METHODOLOGY: CENTURIES-OLD TREES CAUGHT BY CURRENT PROGRAM

I spoke with the Busselton Dunsborough Mail last month after the discovery that a marri log sitting in a South-West timber mill was carbon-dated and found to be between 230 and 290 years old. These are the conditions that WA’s native forest management and measurement of Old Growth forest allows for. It simply isn’t good enough.

Read More

PRESCRIBED BURNING CONFERENCE: UNDERSTANDING NEW APPROACHES

To close off July and begin August, my staff and I attended the 2019 Prescribed Burning Conference at the University of Western Australia on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

I have called for a thorough review of bushfire mitigation practices in the state in the past, and advocate for the need to consider a range of factors in our strategic approach to the practice. Any prescribed burning of forests and woodlands should be done only on ecological principles following independent, peer-reviewed risk assessments and incorporating land use planning, residential design and community preparedness into risk reduction strategies.

I look forward to considering my learnings from the conference and communicating them in Parliament — which resumes this week!

Learn More

Summary of my activities
July 2019

Activities during Parliament recess:
Visited family in Chicago | Adelaide: Visited Greens State MPs & attended Australian Greens Conference | Facilitated the Country Greens workshop | Small Business Development Cooperation Bill Briefing | Visited Family in Broome | Meet with Country Greens in Broome | National Tree Day in Broome | Prescribed Burning Conference UWA | Meeting with Save the Nullaki Members regarding Nullaki Lime Mine SAT case

CRC funding cuts unfair

Projected funding cuts to the state’s 105 Community Resource Centres would be disastrous for both the workers in the CRCs and the communities they service, according to Greens’ Regional Development spokesperson Diane Evers.

The state government has signalled it will cut CRC funding for 2019/20 by 40%, a cut of $6 million that will make it almost impossible for CRCs to continue delivering their current level of service to rural and regional communities.

“I have grave concerns for the impact on WA’s rural and regional communities and predict that some of our most vulnerable community members will suffer in ways that I’d hope a Labor government would not countenance,” Ms Evers said.

“Staff in CRCs have in the past predominantly been underpaid women, but in recent years they have been put onto a federal award wage and equal remuneration order that saw them being paid a fair and reasonable wage for their efforts.

“This funding cut means those staff will either have their hours slashed or jobs removed altogether, and as a result the services CRCs offer to their communities will be radically reduced.”

“It is grossly unfair that community workers should have their working conditions lifted only to then have funding stripped from their sector so they can no longer be employed.”

Ms Evers said CRCs had a crucial role to play in their communities, providing a range of services which could not simply be replaced by an app on a smartphone, as Premier Mark McGowan indicated was the case.

“These centres provide everything from medical appointments, computer clubs for children and seniors, emergency relief, IT access, and assistance with accessing online government services. Beyond that, these centres are important social hubs where the isolation and challenges of life outside a city centre can be faced together,” she said.

Ms Evers said digital disadvantage was a significant problem for rural and regional people, and there was a real risk without assistance from CRCs some community members would be left behind.

“With more and more government services going online, if people are not digitally literate – or even able to access the internet – then they will fall further behind and struggle to participate in society as they need to. CRCs are a line of defence in our country communities against creeping digital disadvantage and the fallout that inevitably follows,” she said.

Farmers urged to speak up on GM

WA farmers have responded to the call for evidence for a Parliamentary inquiry into GM contamination issues, including compensation for non-GM farmers economically impacted if their crop is contaminated.

“It is so important that farmers address this inquiry with their on-the-ground experiences, and I am very pleased they are doing this,” Greens agriculture spokesperson Diane Evers said .

“We are hearing from farmers that there is no guaranteed way to protect their canola from GM canola; they’re telling us how this can happen – either in the paddock or during harvesting and transportation – and the financial implications for them if it does happen.

“The large and mostly silent majority of canola farmers in WA farming non-GM canola are at risk of losing out financially if their crops are found to contain GM canola, so rather than expect them to carry that burden we need to look at how they can be compensated for losses that they themselves have done nothing to incur. Traditional canola farmers stand to lose up to 10% on the price paid per tonne for their canola if it is found to have GM canola in it.”

Ms Evers said farmers had to be brave to speak out, but their voices and input were invaluable.

“The GM industry receives considerable media coverage, and its proponents are very vocal. By contrast, rarely do we hear from the silent majority, the non-GM farmers. This inquiry is designed to give voice to those farmers,” she said.

She urged farmers to make their submission to the inquiry by Friday, February 16, noting that farmers can request the parliamentary committee treat their submission as confidential.