South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has highlighted ongoing criticism of Royalties for Regions spending as an example of government and opposition continuing to argue over details, instead of working to reform systemic issues.
Ms Evers, who introduced the Royalties for Regions Amendment Bill in 2019, has previously called for environmental purposes to be reflected in Royalties for Regions spending.
Ms Evers has criticised the existing system for facilitating government spending that is not for the benefit of regions, rather than encouraging MPs across the chamber to support reform that supports groups and organisations that work to improve environmental health.
The Royalties for Regions Amendment Bill sought to direct a minimum of 10 per cent of all royalties for regions annual funding to environmental rehabilitation and preservation.
Ms Evers said the Royalties for Regions funding framework had provided meaningful support to the regional communities of Western Australia, but more often it is being directed to existing programs and services.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:
“While politicians argue, rather than finding a way forwards, the impact of climate change on our environment continues unaddressed.
“There needs to be a thorough review to ensure royalties from our state’s mining and gas resources are translated into benefits for our regional communities.
“A review of Royalties for Regions is needed now to address the shortcomings in the existing framework and provide landcare groups with the certainty and stability needed to support their incredible management of the environment in regional communities.
“For example, a quarter of the funding is now provided for the Country Water Pricing Subsidy, which used to come out of consolidated revenue.
“This subsidy ensures regional residents pay the same cost for water as those in the metro area and should not come from Royalties for Regions as the economic effect on the regions is negated.
“That is, there is a net loss to the regional areas of that $250 million dollars each year.
“Environmental degradation and pollution as a result of mining and gas sector activities is increasing and the WA Government is doing little to protect or restore our environment.
“A lack of support for community-based environmental organisations across the State and the potential impacts of the loss of valuable ecosystems resulting from insufficient action is too critical to waste time with argument.”
GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070