April has been a period of great relief for me, following the results of the 2017 state election in March. I’ve taken some time out to rejuvenate up in the Pilbara and Kimberley and am now looking forward to Parliament sitting again from May!
There is a lot to prepare for, given we have three incoming new members and much greater bargaining power in the upper house – we need to use our time and power wisely to ensure we continue to represent the people of Western Australia and the four pillars we stand by.
In particular, I want to see Labor held to their election promise that there will be no uranium mines in Western Australia, unless approved prior to the March state election. There are four proposed mines in question – Mulga Rocks, Yeelirrie, Kintyre and Wiluna – whose environmental approvals were rushed through prior to the election by former Environment Minister Albert Jacob in an apparently deliberate effort to con the new government into allowing the uranium industry to continue moving forward in Western Australia.
Environmental approval is just one of many government approvals required before a mine can go into operation; it is essential that we put pressure on the new Labor government early to ensure they stick to their election promise that “… only those projects approved by the previous government will be able to proceed.” I will continue to work closely with Scott’s office, CCWA and other organisations to ensure Labor do not back down to the uranium industry.
I am also really eager to work with new Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt to undo some of the damage done by the previous government in this space, particularly with regards to Aboriginal Heritage and remote communities. In the coming months I will be working towards reintroducing my ‘Prevention of Forced Closures of Remote Communities’ bill and continuing the Home is Heritage campaign, and hopefully rewriting the Aboriginal Heritage Act with the help of Aboriginal people and stakeholders across WA to reflect contemporary needs, not just those of industry. Aboriginal heritage and culture must be properly recognised and protected, otherwise we will continue to fall short of positive outcomes for Aboriginal people across the board.
It is also my sincerest hope that, finally, we will be able to see Dying with Dignity legislation passed in Western Australia and I look forward to working with Alannah Mactiernan on this issue in the coming months. This is just a snapshot of some of the exciting plans we have in my office over the coming year, and I look forward to sharing the positive results soon!
Photo: Robin with new colleague, MLC-elect Diane Evers