Fremantle & Cockburn community’s environmental restoration efforts

Published on Wed 23 November 2022 7:45pm

There is no doubt in my experience that the broader community, especially young people, have a strong desire to see more effective environmental protection. There is a great willingness to be directly involved in that work.

Mr Wilson (7:45pm) – I want to acknowledge the efforts of community groups right across my electorate who are engaged in the vital cause of environmental protection and restoration. There is no question about the great value of that work. Our environment has suffered very considerable impact from us, one way or another, through loss of habitat, invasive species and now from climate change. While of course urbanisation or human habitation is one form of that impact, it’s a mistake to think that urban environments are without very significant environmental value and it’s a mistake to think that our towns, cities and suburbs don’t need restorative work. In fact, half of all threatened species in Australia have some presence in our towns and cities. And there is a lot that we can do to improve local environmental conditions.

There is no doubt in my experience that the broader community, especially young people, have a strong desire to see more effective environmental protection. There is a great willingness to be directly involved in that work. It’s not a burden to spend time in local restoration projects to help with coastal clean-ups—to be part of tree planting, or the weeding of invasive species out of native vegetation, or the care of injured native wildlife. It’s not a burden; it’s a labour of love. It’s productive of good health, both physically and mentally. It’s almost always a form of social engagement and social inclusion. And it’s a collective expression of stewardship and belonging.

To the extent that this movement is growing in scale and energy, it shows a long-belated getting of wisdom about our proper, sustainable place in the world that, of course, First Nations Australians have known and practiced forever. That is one of the reasons this government is doubling the number of Commonwealth funded Indigenous rangers. It’s one of the reasons we are committed to advancing the Uluru Statement from the Heart, including a First Nations voice to parliament because we have missed that voice and that knowledge for too long.

In recent months, like many members of this place, I’ve had the privilege of attending a series of events to mark tree planting projects made possible through the Queen’s jubilee program. In total this involves 10 separate projects and thousands of tube stock saplings and semi-mature native trees right across the Fremantle electorate.

The weekend before last I was with members of the Cockburn Community Wildlife Corridor group to see the consolidation of the tuart and banksia woodland at Manning Park and Clontarf hill. And a few weeks before that I was with Friends of Hollis Park to see the latest instalment of their amazing efforts to revegetate a degraded but beautiful area of coastal scrub with more than 3,500 seedlings over the course of two winters. In between I was at Rottnest Island to see a planting of the endemic Rottnest Island pine and tea tree. And most recently I visited the Coogee Community Garden, which has become an incredible plant haven in a very short space of time. It has been supported with 150 trees suitable to the Spearwood and Quindalup dune ecosystems.

Two local schools, Beaconsfield primary and Hilton primary, have planted nearly 100 saplings between them, including Western Australian peppermint trees, casuarinas, tea trees and jarrah.

While these tree planting projects each represent a valuable contribution to increasing native habitat and canopy cover, I do want to note the way in which a number of the Queen’s jubilee projects are consonant with a larger effort to create a green corridor from the Beeliar Wetlands to the Cockburn Fremantle coast. This includes the Walliabup Native Food Forest Project that is planting 30 quandong and 15 coojong trees, and the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre with its planting of 2,000 tube stock marri, jarrah and she-oak—all of which are habitat for the endangered red-tailed black-cockatoo and the endangered Carnaby’s cockatoo.

Of course, I mentioned earlier the Cockburn community wildlife corridor. I want to wholeheartedly commend all members of that group for their work to achieve a biodiversity link that would exemplify the City of Cockburn’s motto ‘from wetlands to waves.’ One of the brilliant legacies of the massive community effort over the summer of 2016-17 to defeat the ridiculous Perth Freight Link is the opportunity now to shape the future of the so-called Roe 9 corridor. I agree with broad community sentiment that it’s a special opportunity, but planning for the corridor should be done carefully. I am personally heartened by the way the McGowan Labor government has moved to protect the Beeliar Wetlands and take a range of actions on the sustainable housing diversity, active transport and community infrastructure front.

I’m looking forward to working with community members, state colleagues, the City of Cockburn, local schools, the Cockburn Basketball Association and others to realise the great potential in that corridor. It’s a once in several generations opportunity to ensure that this special area creates a vibrant, active transport corridor.

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