Farmers fume over who opens the gate

CHANGES to the Animal Welfare Act that would give a new class of inspector appointed by Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan power to enter a farm at any time, with no notice and no reasonable suspicion of an offence, have split Labor and Opposition members of a Parliamentary committee.

On June 28, a majority of the Standing Committee on Legislation recommended the above changes be removed from a Bill introduced by Ms MacTiernan.

Currently the Director General of Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries is the only person who can appoint inspec- tors. Those inspectors can only enter a farm with reasonable suspicion of an offence, a warrant, after serving a notice that a land- holder may object to, or with permission of the land-holder.

Contrary to the majority position, two La- bor members of the Opposition-controlled committee, Chair Sally Talbot and South Metropolitan MLC Pierre Yang, condition- ally supported the Bill in its current form.

Dr Talbot, whose South West electoral region comprises the Southwest region and Great Southern municipalities of Albany, Denmark and Plantagenet, told The Weekender the committee’s “opinion broke” down party lines.

“The Government’s very keen to see new measures introduced and I think that this Bill was one of the mechanisms of doing it,” she said.

President of the Stud Merino Breeders As- sociation of WA Wayne Button urged Ms MacTiernan to implement the committee’s majority recommendations.

“I think the recommendations are common sense and hope that they are taken on board by the relevant parties,” he said.

“Farmers are reasonable people and we try to adhere to all the rules and regulations but I don’t think we need to have any extra things put on top that the general public doesn’t have.

“The analogy was used about people’s backyards, with their pets; inspectors are not allowed to wander through there whenever they feel like it.”

Mr Button said uncontrolled access by in- spectors might also compromise biosecurity protocols required by national livestock as- surance standards.

Ms MacTiernan previously said the Bill, if passed, would enable the State to enforce national livestock standards, bringing WA into line with most of the nation (‘Concerns over right of entry’, May 31).

She added the national standards were a shift from an ad hoc focus triggered by cruelty complaints toward a “more modern” animal welfare approach – and that a new inspection regime was integral to ensuring compliance.

Now, she has told The Weekender that WA remains the only state that has not given legal effect to endorsed national standards and guidelines on animal welfare.

“There is no point having national standards if they cannot be enforced – and this is in- consistent with the position taken by Liberal and National members of the Parliamentary committee,” she said.

“We acknowledge that the Bill could be improved and we will look at amendments to address some of the issues raised by the committee.

“We would hope that these amendments will see the Bill supported in Parliament to bring our state into line with the rest of the country and to provide more certainty to industry.”

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Dutch fries and fruit juice ban

WORLD-RENOWNED medical communicator Michael Mosley has told a Parliamentary committee that Western Australia should take heed of Amsterdam where “impressive” but “draconian” anti-obesity measures – including banning fruit juice from school and kids from buying fries at McDonald’s – have been implemented.

In an hour of evidence to State Parliament’s Education and Health Standing Committee on June 20, Dr Mosley said Amsterdam was “one of the few places on Earth getting it right”.

He said he was recently in the Dutch capital where obesity in children had been reversed, particularly in poorer communities that had seen a “spectacular” drop.

Dr Mosley said Amsterdam had a “very, very tightly planned strategy” with what some might regard as “quite draconian” measures.

Discussing fruit juice, which he said was widely thought to be good for children but in reality was “terrible”, he recounted how Amsterdam kids are forbidden from taking anything other than water or milk to school.

He explained that full fat milk instead had developed a “terrible” reputation for which there was no evidence.

Dr Mosley said if he were to encourage his children to drink anything it would be full fat milk, as low fat milk was processed more.

He added that, in Amsterdam, children are not allowed to buy fries at McDonald’s outlets near their schools, unless accompanied by their parents.

Flying solo, children are only allowed to buy an apple from the Golden Arches.

Dr Mosley said that in a further “draconian” move, Amsterdam banned McDonald’s and Coca-Cola from sponsoring sports events.

WA Country Health Service figures show that in the Great Southern 31.9 per cent of people aged 16 or over are obese, compared to 26.9 per cent for the state as a whole.

Dr Mosley said he was trying to persuade SBS and the BBC to help him make a documentary on diet and health in Australian Aboriginal communities.

After training in medicine, he embarked on a production career at the BBC.

He was nominated for an Emmy for a 1994 documentary on the Nobel Prize winning work Barry Marshall and Robin Warren produced at the University of Western Australia on gastric ulcers.

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Back-pedal on bike path

THEY had a dream.

That one day a bicycle path would wind all the way from Little Grove virtually to the doorstep of Albany Town Hall.

But that dream, by Albany council engineers and cycling aficionados, now lies in tatters.

When last year The Weekender revealed plans to build a 2.5km, $1.2 million missing link in Albany’s cycle network (‘Smooth ride into town’, November 16), Stage 1 from the top of Carlisle Street was meant to end at Collie Street just behind Town Hall.

Soon after reading that article, Grey Street West residents submitted a petition arguing the route was unsafe because it was a major transit route down to York Street.

The petitioners further argued that too many car parks would be lost along Grey Street West.

Then, at a council meeting on December 19, the City’s elected officials agreed that the 200m section from Parade to Collie Street be indefinitely excluded from the project (‘People over pedal power’, December 28, 2017).

Now, after a review of the bike path design, and two on-site meetings with residents, a recommendation by council engineer David King to the City’s development and infrastructure committee back-pedals further.

Mr King recommends that “at this time” the path only be built from Carlisle Street to Melville Street, a further 200m back from Parade Street.

The committee will consider Mr King’s recommendation on Wednesday night, ahead of deliberations by the full council at a meeting further down the track.

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Busport bumped

WITH the University of Western Australia beating TransWA to the punch by securing Albany’s former train station for its wave energy centre, the intrastate bus operator is planning a new terminus at a vacant block across the street.

A City briefing paper shows a bid from UWA defeated offers by TransWA and the South Coast Natural Resource Management group for the right to lease the train station building.

The paper outlines a plan for TransWA to use a new bus canopy and portable ticketing office it intends to erect on 58 per cent of a grassy, City-owned site on the other side of Proudlove Parade.

TransWA is scheduled to stop pulling its buses up outside the historic building by June next year.

Leasing the council plot would cost TransWA $9600 a year for the next three years, at which point a rent review will ensue.

The City plans to build a car park on the remaining 42 per cent of the plot, as pictured.

Council staff have budgeted $148,940 to build the car park and for design and civil works.

Of that amount, TransWA has agreed in principle to contribute $83,449 for design and civil works on its side of the block.

Financing the ticket office and bus canopy will also be TransWA’s responsibility.

A recommendation to approve the lease agreement and $148,940 budget allocation will be considered by a City committee on July 10, ahead of full council deliberations further down the line.

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Denmark director shakeup

A MAJOR overhaul of the top echelons of Denmark’s shire administration is underway, with the positions of chief engineer and chief planner being rolled into one, and a Community Emergency Services Manager position advertised and about to be filled after the incumbent’s contract expired.

Shire CEO Bill Parker told The Weekender that the contracts of two of his three 2ICs, Director Sustainable Development Annette Harbron and Director Infrastructure and Assets Gilbert Arlandoo, would expire in January 2019.

The contract of Community Emergency Services Manager Marcus Owen expired on Saturday.

Mr Parker said the position filled by Mr Owen had been advertised, with an offer made to a preferred candidate.

He explained that the two director positions currently filled by Ms Harbron and Mr Arlandoo would be rolled into one.

“In this instance, a single director looking after the planning, building and engineering functions will deliver greater consistency, with the revised structure further complementing our overall strategic direction, Denmark 2027,” he said.

“The combined position will focus on the Shire’s integrated planning and reporting framework ensuring that service delivery is aligned with community expectations.

“The position will ensure that the Shire delivers a contemporary approach to asset management and all development functions and will be supported by highly competent and efficient technical officers.”

In many local authorities around the world, the chief engineer and chief planner roles are kept separate so that professional autonomy can be maintained, and a balance between oft-competing priorities of the two professions achieved.

Mr Parker said the combined director position would be advertised in September or October, and Ms Harbron and Mr Arlandoo had been encouraged to apply.

He said the decision to fuse the two director positions was “difficult” but “based on what was best for the organisation”.

“When any contract expires, we always review the role and our overall strategic direction,” he added.

Ms Harbron has held her position since January, 2011, and Mr Arlandoo his since January, 2016.

The third of Mr Parker’s current 2ICs, Cary Green, has been Director of Corporate and Community Services since February, 2017.

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Port users slam apartments plan

PROPONENTS of a hotel on a harbour-front block owned by business identity Paul Lionetti are on a collision course with powerful farming and transport groups over plans to allow apartments at the site prone to noise from trucks and trains that service the Port of Albany.

More than 40 objections have been lodged to plans by Foreshore Investments Albany Pty Ltd for permission to build up to 6800sqm of apartments on the 9599sqm block on Princess Royal Drive.

Southern Ports complains an acoustics assessment of the site is not detailed enough to recommend a noise control package for the hotel-cum-apartment block, which is on the main truck route to the port.

The WA Farmers Federation argues a memorandum of agreement negotiated in 2007 is “very specific in the prohibition of permanent residential activity and acknowledgement and respect for continuous heavy haulage road and rail access to the Port of Albany”.

“It is extremely disappointing that the City of Albany is considering changes to this agreement to allow permanent accommodation,” the lobby group laments.

“Our members have cited a number of examples where complaints from recently arrived residents in agricultural or other industrial areas have resulted in restrictions to operating hours and the imposition of curfews.

“The possibility of any such restrictions to port access in the future would be extremely detrimental to the agricultural industry in Albany and surrounding region.”

The Forest Industries Federation of WA says planned alterations to the memorandum are not adequate to assure its members’ ongoing freight operations.

The Freight and Logistics Council of WA says the plan would increase the number of permanent residents in areas exposed to the highest impact of freight transport noise and vibration, leading to calls for restrictions on adjacent rail and road operations.

“That outcome would be disastrous for the efficiency of the port and the international competitiveness of the goods it handles,” the group submits.

The Stirlings to Coast Farmers collective says its members strongly oppose apartments at the site, located immediately across Toll Place from Mr Lionetti’s Due South tavern.

“In our view, any changes made that put our members’ continued access to the port facilities at risk would be seen to demonstrate a strong disregard for the concerns of hard-working farmers in our region by the Albany City Council,” the collective asserts.

But TourismWA disagrees, advising the amendments would improve financial viability of the project, which the State Government tourism promotion arm sees as “an essential piece of Albany accommodation infrastructure”.

Foreshore Investments’ consultant planners Harley Dykstra argue apartments would “support the viable operation of these buildings, which have historically prevented the development of a hotel and short stay accommodation” on the vacant waterfront block.

An overall recommendation on the apartments is yet to be put to Albany’s mayor and councillors.

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Stadium naming rights fails to lure bidders

ZIP, zero, nada, none.

That’s how many bids the City of Albany has received in response to its glossy, nine-page call for proposals to privatise the name of Centennial Stadium.

At 2pm on June 28, The Weekender was the only public witness to an opening of proposals at the City’s North Road headquarters.

As the tender box swung open, an official peered in, locked the box up, stepped away, and said The Weekender’s poised pen and Spirax notepad would not be required.

In a major anti-climax, not one naming rights sponsor had been lured from the woodwork of corporate Albany.

On Tuesday, Acting City CEO Michael Cole confirmed no late proposals had been received either.

“The request for proposal process was delivered in line with the City’s sponsorship policy and was only the first step in seeking interest from prospective sponsors,” Mr Cole said.

“The City will continue to proactively seek interest from potential naming rights sponsors and is currently compiling a shortlist of potential targets.

“Whilst receiving a proposal would have been a positive outcome, the City held no expectations around achieving an outcome in this initial stage of the process.”

In an article that recently revealed the City’s plan to sell the arena’s handle (‘A stadium by any other name’ , June 21), President of the Albany Ratepayers and Residents Association Elizabeth Barton foresaw a vapid result.

“What?! $50,000 a year?” the former City councillor said when told of the minimum price sought.

“You’ve got to be kidding.

“This is Albany, not Perth.”

She said the name ‘Albany Oval’ would be preferable to any corporate moniker.

Asked if the City would consider giving the stadium a name that included ‘Albany’, ‘Great Southern’, or ‘South Coast’ – to promote the area to tourists and investors and recoup some pay-off from its substantial investment in the stadium – Mr Cole mostly repeated his answer to an earlier question.

“The City will continue to proactively approach and seek interest from potential naming rights sponsors in line with the City’s sponsorship policy and the criteria stated in the request for proposal process,” he said.

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Vancouver resort plan swamped

THE final draft structure plan for a five-star resort between Lake Vancouver and Goode Beach is now in the public realm – with a recommendation that the WA Planning Commission approve it in the face of almost 270 objections.

Last Thursday, The Weekender revealed that an Albany council planning committee would consider the planned resort on July 11 after City staff and councillors convened separate closed-door meetings with the Frenchman Bay Association and project proponents (‘Goode Beach plans progress’, June 28).

Now it can be reported that Ahola Planning and landowners Cherry Martin and Rolf Koch have achieved a recommendation of approval from Albany’s city planners for the controversial 51-unit blueprint.

The proponents’ 401-page report depicts a swimming pool, seven single-floor buildings and five double-floor buildings including a function centre and cafe-cum-dining area.

The City’s planners have provided responses to many of the 315 public submissions received on the resort.

Almost 270 submissions oppose the project, about 20 support, and about 30 provide advice or do not proffer a strong view either way.

Among respondents offering advice is the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions that advises it cannot comment on the resort’s impact on vegetation because a current flora survey was not conducted.

Contrastingly, the Frenchman Bay Association’s submission says the proponents “appear to want to sweep away all the environmental, social and fiscal risks identified in previous exhaustive investigations”.

“The FBA has recently been advised by the City of Albany planners that previous studies are not relevant, as the proposed resort ‘is a completely different proposal to previous proposals’ ,” the residents’ lobby group submits.

“The FBA, however, strongly disagrees with this statement, because the site is exactly the same as it was three decades ago.

“It is the size of the proposed resort, as described in the Structure Plan, that is different, not the site.”

A submission by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is even more frank.

“For the proponents of this development to dismiss state policies and instead state that they will plan and manage for a 50-year sea level rise is negligent to future owners and investors in the property as well as local and state government authorities that may be expected to protect the infrastructure from erosion,” the Department asserts.

“Managed retreat is not an option for this site which is constrained by the presence of Lake Vancouver.”

After being considered by the City’s development committee, the planners’ recommendation of approval, with many conditions, will be considered by the full council and a recommendation of endorsement or refusal passed to the WA Planning Commission.

If the Commission then approves the structure plan, detailed development plans will then need to be considered by a State-convened assessment panel before the Goode Beach resort proceeds.


Photo source: Ahola Planning development report

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Calls for 40kph in CBD

ALBANY city councillors have launched a bid to cut the speed limit in and around the Great Southern’s main commercial centre from 50kph to 40 kph.

At a council meeting on Tuesday night, Councillor Bill Hollingworth said reducing the current speed limit in Albany’s CBD by 10kph would be worth investigating.

His colleague Paul Terry said a trial could include York Street, the 100m of Albany Highway closest to the city centre, Lockyer Avenue, Aberdeen and Collie streets and “all streets in between”.

“But we can talk about that at a later date,” he added.

Cr Terry said that, if required, he would present a notice of motion at the next council meeting that a report be prepared to probe the “pros and cons” of a 40kph trial.

In other inner-Albany road news, for the second council meeting in a row Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks declared how good the recently controversial resurfacing of Middleton Road (‘Road repairs a crack-up’, 19 April) had turned out.

“The Wylie Crescent and Hare Street rat runs are now closed,” he quipped, alluding to the almost complete, runway-like surface of nearby Middleton Road.

He said the silky smooth tarmac would come up a treat “by the time we put the trees in there and get the finishing touches done”.

Cr Stocks said he’d received “only positive feedback” on the roadworks.

He congratulated chief city engineer Matthew Thomson on a job well done.

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New nets make cricket the ticket

DESPITE the footy, netball and soccer seasons being in full swing at the moment, cricket is the sport of choice for Mount Lockyer Primary students after a gleaming new double cricket net and pitch was installed recently.

The school was the only one in Albany that did not previously have cricket nets, so the rate at which students have traded drop punts and torpedoes for sixes and wrong ‘uns has astounded staff and parents.

P&C Fundraising Coordinator Karen Southall still can’t believe the soaring popularity of the game considering Albany couldn’t be further from summer.

She said the sport has positively influenced student behaviour in both the classroom and the playground, and has encouraged large amounts of girls and boys to give the game a go.

“The uptake of cricket at the school since the new nets has been phenomenal,” she said.

“There’s certainly been an increase in kids’ activity during recess and lunch and we’ve seen a lot more sharing and cooperating in the classroom.

“Sharing in a sport like cricket allows kids who don’t always play together to commingle and it builds their confidence.”

Deputy principal Paul Hockey said the $30,000 project was made possible by a combination of school money, P&C fundraising and a state government grant.

“When you’ve got a school of 570 kids, you need a variety of activities for kids to do,” he said.

“The nets were really an initiative by the P&C, so it just goes to show how much the P&C gives back to the school.”

Under the same State Government school funding project, Flinders Park Primary received a new stage in the assembly hall, Bremer Bay Primary’s school oval received improved drainage and Jerramungup District High installed a new nature playground.

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