By Chris Thomson | posted on July 12, 2018
THE ever-changing name of the State environment department has come under the probing gaze of South West Liberal MLC Steve Thomas.
Addressing Western Australia’s Environment Minister Stephen Dawson at a Budget Estimates hearing on June 20, Dr Thomas directed his attention to a page in the hearing papers.
“The top of that page says ‘Division 40: Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’,” Dr Thomas commenced.
“Minister, will you please change the name back to either DPaW or something with a useable acronym?”
Stepping in, hearing Chair Alanna Clohesy, the Labor MLC for East Metropolitan Region, reminded Dr Thomas he had seven minutes of probing left.
“So if you have any other questions that are more pressing?” she suggested.
But Mr Dawson explained he would be “happy to provide an answer given the Member took the time to ask that question”.
“You can just say ‘no’,” Dr Thomas advised, before Mr Dawson commenced his answer proper.
“Member, this has been a controversial name in some quarters, but can I say, it does really show the breadth of the agency,” he said.
“If you think of where we came from, we had the zoo, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, Parks and Wildlife Service and Rottnest—all four different agencies—and we could not get all their names in the title of a new agency.
“We believe that the words ‘biodiversity, conservation and attractions’ really shows what this agency is about.
“I understand the name is not a favourite of yours. I know you are very passionate for the agency itself and you do not like the name, but there is no plan to change it.”
Ms Clohesy then told Dr Thomas – whose dog-legged electoral region hugs the coast from Mandurah through Denmark to Albany – he had “six-and-a-half minutes left”.
“Thank you, Minister,” Dr Thomas recommenced.
“Let us go into the details of DBCA, then.
“At the top of Page 572, Minister, there is a great line at the beginning of that page that states: ‘Invasive pests, weeds and diseases will continue to be managed’.
“My first question is: how well are they likely to be managed?”
The hearing continued.