Petition gets a limited hearing

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
South West MLC Diane Evers.
Camera IconSouth West MLC Diane Evers.

A parliamentary committee has declined to make further inquiries into the Southern Forest Irrigation Scheme.

In a letter to principal petitioner Anton Troy, Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs chairman Matthew Swinbourn declined to undertake further inquiry because the petition was too similar to a previous petition tabled in 2019.

The petition garnered 3112 signatures and was tabled in Parliament by South West Region MLC Diane Evers.

Ms Evers said the petition had raised additional issues the State Government should look at and called on anti-scheme voters to make the scheme an electoral issue.

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“A lot of people out there in the regions need to let the Government know that this is a vote changer for them and they want to see some action taken to stop the scheme,” she said.

“They need to know that votes will be fleeing away from them if they do not come forward and stop the scheme.”

The 2019 petition received 862 signatures.

Mr Troy said the decision was a slap in the face to the people who had worked to get the signatures for the petition.

“Disappointing is the least strong word I would use, there was a lot of people that put a lot of effort in, we got 500 signatures a week for six weeks,” he said.

“It’s a mammoth effort on the part of people that really care about this issue and to have that thrown in their face, completely unjustified, the petitions look nothing alike.”

Ms Evers said she expected the State Government to stop the scheme prior to Christmas this year, but said she was prepared to continue working to stop the scheme into the next term of government.

“Should it still continue into the next term, it means we start all over again with the petitions and the public environmental review, so there is no sign of giving up yet,” she said.

Mr Swinbourn was contacted for comment but did not respond by deadline.

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