This year had an unexpected start, when I became stuck in the North West due to intense flooding that turned the surrounding roads and plains into lakes and rivers! I made a few attempts at escape only to be turned around by authorities at roadblocks, but eventually I made it back to the city to get stuck into 2018 with my team.
Already we have our plates full with the disappointing Supreme Court decision on the Yeelirrie uranium mine, approved by the Barnett Government and continued by the McGowan Government. We will continue to work with traditional owners and conservation groups to make sure that this mine does not go ahead.
Our campaign to ban plastics reached new heights when I was presented with thousands of petition signatures, collected by Sea Shepherd Marine Debris Campaign Australia, in support of our Private Member’s Bill currently before parliament. If this bill is passed it will ban the supply of plastic bags, balloons, plastic drinking straws, and polyethylene and polystyrene packaging. The bill will also prohibit the supply of products containing plastic microbeads throughout the whole of Western Australia. The reality is that we must end the use of these incredibly damaging products if we are to protect our precious environment and waterways.
Across the vast Mining and Pastoral Region we have seen an incredible groundswell of community support for Schools of the Air, resulting in an astonishing but welcome backflip from the McGowan government on their proposed closures of the schools. But the fight isn’t over yet, with cuts to regional education still going ahead. Cuts which will barely make a dent in the massive budget deficit, but which will have a devastating impact on regional students and remote families for years to come.
I’d like to thank all of the members and supporters of The Greens (WA) heading into this year. You are the lifeblood of this party and it is your input and guidance that helps those of us in parliament to be better representatives of both you and the broader community. As always, my team and I will be working hard to put the issues that matter on the map and grow The Greens support throughout WA.
Header photo: The hat. Robin Chapple
Text Photo: Robin contemplating in the bush. Tim Oliver