DARREN BROWN, former advisor to COLIN BARNETT, has apologised for advising the Government to ignore wide spread local opposition and allow Water Corp to build the water treatment plant at the Mundaring Weir. Read the too-little, too-late apology at WA Today:
The Perth Hills Planning Bill will be debated in the upper house of State Parliment this Thursday. It is a Personal Members Bill introduced by Alison Xamon, MLC East Metro.
The Bill would create a Perth Hills Region, and appoint a committee of experts who would apply a set of principles designed to protect the Hills from excessive quarrying, logging, mining, and urban sprawl.
Why any Member would vote against such a bill is illogical. They might just as well vote against protecting Rotto, the beaches and the Swan River.
Save Perth Hills hopes the Bill will procede from the upper house and through the lower house and into law before the next election in March.
Contact your local member and ask them to vote for it.
This from a press release from Norman Moore, Minister for Mines and Petroleum:
“ The State Government has taken steps to prevent future coal mining in the Margaret River area by terminating all pending applications for coal exploration activities within a 230-square kilometre zone.”
A courageous move by the Minister? Perhaps. Does this mean the Capes region is safe? No, just this 230 sq. km area. Does it mean mining companies can apply elsewhere, and localities cannot ban mining in their jurisdiction but have to meet each expensive challenge? Yes.
We suggest that this is not over.
Greens MP Giz Watson introduced a bill to amend the Mining Act which will be debated in State Parliament this week. "Section 120 of the Mining Act basically states that mining takes precedence over planning instruments, whether that's town planning schemes or regional planning schemes," Giz said.
"We are seeking to remove that section to turn it round the other way so mining applications can only be accepted if they comply with local rules."
In September of 2010, the Premier Colin Barnett said the Government was pro-mining but a controversial and unpopular proposal for a coal mine in Margaret River highlighted a potential conflict of interest.
In response Barnett said legislation would be considered.
"The State Government will give some consideration to special legislation to protect the Margaret River area, perhaps along the lines of legislation that was put in place to protect the Swan Valley," he said.
But, there seems to be a backing away from that and the Greens amendments look set to fail.
The Minister for Mines, Norman Moore, says he sees no need for the change.
"I see little need to consider amendments to the Mining Act to require greater involvement of State Government agencies," he said.
The State Government says it is considering other ways to ensure the assets of the Margaret River region are protected, including a review of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge state planning policy and the South West framework.
The Member for the South West, Adele Farina, says Mr Barnett is reneging on his promise to protect the Margaret River region. She said that Barnetts inaction since 2010 proves it was never his intention to protect Margaret River
Unless there are amendments to the Mining Act every community will potentially be fighting applications for mining one application at a time.
The Government has signed a temporary order to allow builders to start work on buildings without local council approval as long as they’ve filed paperwork. If the councils find a problem the builder must stop and fix it, but they can’t very well un-build the building.
The order runs from 1 Jan. to 30 June and is supposed to reverse a drop in apporvals due to confusion over the new Building Act that came into effect in April.
So far we've met with the following MPs:
Frank Alban MLA Swan Hills (Lib). He’s against the Bill, says it’s an ‘environmental bill’ , and will vote against it because Colin is against it.
John Day MP Kalamunda and Minister for Planning (Lib). (actually we just met with his staff, he was too busy). They
never gave us a yes or no, just smiled and listened and said it was being taken on advisement.
Tony Simpson MLA Darling Range (Lib). Tony supports the Bill but wouldn’t commit either way at this time because officially he’s a Lib.
Helen Morton MLC East Metro (Lib). She is sympathetic but is John Day’s voice in the upper house and has to vote with him.
Peter Tinley MLA Willagee Shadow Planning Minister (Lbr). He was interested, suggested if we had thousands of
members on our e-mail list they might be more interested.
Alison Xamon MLC East Metro (Greens) She’s definitely FOR the Bill, she is it’s chief sponsor.
Giz Watson MLC North Metro (Greens) She’s definitely FOR the Bill, she was it’s original author.
Remember, the next election is just 10 months away in March.
"The Liberal National Government is committed to ensuring there is a balance between responsible economic activity and sustainable environmental outcomes. We will be rightly judged on our record. The decision just this month to reject a proposal to build a coal mine near Margaret River demonstrates this. The unique environmental, viticultural and tourism values of the region cannot be compromised, and the Government will implement the most stringent planning framework possible to protect it from all forms of high impact mining."
We at Save Perth Hills infer that these same values should stand for the Perth Hills Region, and the best way to do that is for the Premier to support the Perth Hills Planning Bill.