Brent McKenna

Candidate for Pilbara

Brent McKenna is The Greens (WA) Candidate for Pilbara in the 2017 WA State election

Confirmed PhD Candidate (Sustainability) at Murdoch University completing a study on competing sustainable development agendas during the boom bust cycle related to the lived-experience of Pilbara residents. Brent traces his community development experience back to being Fitzroy Council’s first Municipal Recreation Officer initiating development programs and special events, such as the Fringe Arts Festival started in 1984 and 1985, with the Fringe Arts Network as well as being community planner at the former City of Prahran where he coordinated social development across the Council’s community services portfolio.

Following secondment and completion of a Commonwealth Research Fellowship at the Australia Centre for Local Government Studies (Canberra University) and a Master of Arts (Social Policy) at RMIT University in the 1990s, Brent ran his own social and leisure planning consultancy for several years and, in his spare time, began to run as a candidate in local and commonwealth elections to lay the foundation for The Greens to take the Seat of Melbourne.

His first campaign in the Pilbara was in 2013 as an Independent emphasising the need to address policy, programs and initiatives toward Boom turning into the otherwise unexpected Bust following that State Election. Brent’s campaign gained traction with thinking voters as a foundation for the 2017 Campaign which envisages environmental, cultural and socio-economic “time bombs” are the next big challenge in the Pilbara. Accordingly, Brent’s PhD is a critique that emphasises initiatives more likely to achieve community sustainability than the weak aspirational sustainable development agendas of market-based policy frameworks which have seen government envisaged trends and patterns in reverse and retreating from aspirations expressed in the Pilbara Cities Vision, Pilbara Investment Blueprint and the New Pilbara (2016) re-launched as failed aspirations, confirmed by the Bankwest Curtin (University) Centre report entitled “Back to the Future: WA’s economic future after the boom”.

With The Greens (WA), Brent identifies ideal ends of Sustainable Development Agendas to be Community Sustainability if based on different ideas to conservative government views on development; in that true sustainability emphasises far-sightedness rather than electoral-cycle thinking ; stewardship, rather than exploitation of the environment, treating the Earth as if harvesting re-grow-able fruit rather externalising costs as pollution; stabilising and balancing processes that serve future generations in settled townships not just present transient populations that increase with booms and decrease with busts. Extractive industries and their peak bodies agree they are unsustainable and could therefore leave more negative legacies, including more ghost towns and possibly new shell cities.

Brent believes that’s why The Greens (WA) policies and participatory processes are the preferred solutions to pursuing and achieving community sustainability in the Pilbara.