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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 524

Mr HASTIE (Canning) (13:44): In my maiden speech in 2015 I stated that:

Canning is a thriving ecosystem with hardworking Australians who enjoy their freedom and lifestyles unique to each township. The people of Canning generally want to get about their business without undue interference from government.

But recently we have had government, or Canberra, trying to tell us who we are. Under the guidelines of the Building Better Regions Fund, almost all of Canning has been classified as 'significant urban area', rendering large sections of the Peel region unable to apply.

Canning is anything but urban. It is located an hour south-east of the Perth CBD and is home to the Peel region. We have beef farmers, orchardists, national forests and Australia's largest goldmine. We have bauxite mining and some of the most important bauxite refineries in the country. The southern parts are considered a holiday destination, renowned for camping and recreation. And, for what it is worth, we have our very own Peel regional development authority.

My office has been overwhelmed by correspondence from people and community groups concerned about the change to our status. We are regional, and Canning is struggling to cope with the social symptoms of isolation such as high unemployment, homelessness, family violence and drug abuse. For Canning, access to the BBRF is not about money, it is just about who we are: we are regional. I would like to thank the Prime Minister, who, in December, took a phone call from me and made a commitment to review the situation and help restore our status as regional.