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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14722


Mr WYATT (HasluckMinister for Senior Australians and Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health) (10:53): People in my electorate of Hasluck care deeply for the environment, and so it should be no surprise to anyone that, when they chose me to represent them, they chose one who has a deep respect for and connection to this country and to Mother Earth. Their care and respect for the natural environment in the Perth Hills is matched by their care for each other. Seconds after sirens are heard in the hills, mums are on their phones checking emergency apps, dads are calling neighbours and kids are getting ready to pack their favourite toys and jump into the car. My electorate is an extreme fire risk area, and, as our climate changes, this risk will undoubtedly intensify. I've been advised that, in extremely intense fires, water dropped from helicopters and planes onto a fire can evaporate before it hits the ground.

It is in this context that a new development proposed for North Stoneville has resulted in the community rallying against it. I've heard their arguments and that of the developer. Save Perth Hills has more than 4,000 petition signatures, which is a significant number given that the local population in Mundaring and the surrounding areas is not much more than that number. One thousand people have joined the group on Facebook, and they are holding a rally this Sunday, 7 April, at 10.30 at Sculpture Park, Mundaring, which I will attend to hear their concerns. They're not anti development, and neither am I. They are passionate locals who are also highly qualified and eloquent on the issues relating to environmental protection, water usage, fire management, and planning. Hasluck is an electorate of rich diversities, and these skills in our local communities have served the Perth Hills well.

What is unique about the Perth Hills is the flora and fauna. It is an attribute that is part of the Darling escarpment, part of an ancient system that prevailed long before settlement. What they're fighting for is the pristine nature of the Perth Hills. The bushland there is the lungs of our city. The oxygen provided by those plants adds to the health and quality of life that we experience.

I'll always take a stance on the environment. I believe that the bushland that Indigenous Australians enjoyed in that area for 60,000 years plus is unique. The more of it we leave the better it will be for our children, for their future and, more importantly, for the catchment water areas of Perth. Whilst development is essential and important to accommodate the needs of people, there is also a need to balance the demand for living areas and, at the same time, the protection of areas that are in fire-prone zones that are a uniquely Australian habitat that we won't find anywhere else.