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Monday, 8 February 2010
Page: 736

Mr SIMPKINS (4:17 PM) —World Wetlands Day is celebrated in February each year, and last Saturday, 6 February, I attended the revegetation planting event on the banks of Lake Goollelal for World Wetlands Day. This event was organised by the National Trust WA and the Department of Environment and Conservation to improve the habitat for native birds and animals and help improve the water quality of Lake Goollelal, part of the Yellagonga Regional Park. There is little doubt that Lake Goollelal is an impressive part of the Cowan electorate—stunning scenery, accessible to the public and an excellent example of diverse flora and fauna. What exists there is due in no small part to the long-term efforts of the Friends of Yellagonga and the Department of Environment and Conservation. I congratulate them for what they have achieved. But, as Saturday demonstrated, there is always more work to be done.

That being said, despite the work involved in the plantings, my daughters and I always greatly enjoy these events. In 2010 we were again at the same planting location as 2009, near the Luisini Winery site. The objective of planting hundreds of sedges is to restrict weed growth and greatly improve the health of the area. It was interesting to see the strong growth of the plants from last year, and my daughters commented on how they had been responsible for some of those.

Following on from the successful event in 2009, the Department of Environment and Conservation provided even more plants this year. The planting took almost the whole two hours, resulting in strong coverage of plants over the target area. World Wetlands Day is a good day to highlight Lake Goollelal, as the lake is an excellent example of a wetland adjacent to an urban area. I look forward to a strong turnout of local people next year and the planting of many more sedges.

Although this planting day is undertaken each year, it is important to again note the role of the Friends of Yellagonga. The friends work closely and in a coordinated manner with the Department of Environment and Conservation. Their mission is to promote and participate in the conservation, rehabilitation and protection of the Yellagonga Regional Park to ensure long-term environmental sustainability and compatible human use. The committee comprises the chair, Will Carstairs; vice-chair, Peter Jacoby; treasurer, John Stenton; secretary, Heather Chester; nursery manager, Frank Parrotte; volunteer coordinator, Graham Sinclair; and general committee members Kevin McLeod, John Chester, Marian Napier-Winch and Sue Walker.

I know that the friends are concerned not only with diversity issues to do with flora but also with the protection of native fauna and the control of introduced species. In particular, it is suspected that the park’s turtles are the subject of poaching. I certainly hope that those responsible can be caught and prosecuted. The friends are also concerned with the persistent fox and feral pig problem in the park. These species represent a significant threat to the biodiversity of the regional park. I believe that this is only the second time ever that the Friends of Yellagonga Regional Park have been mentioned in the House of Representatives. I am happy to have been the one to speak of their efforts on both occasions.