Newsletter June 2018

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The Hon. Tjorn Sibma

In the Community 
June 2018
The Legislative Council of the Western Australian Parliament returned on 13 March 2018.  Since that time I have consistently raised the issues of Local Projects Local Jobs, cuts to Kidsport funding and how it affects Scouts and Guides, the lack of accountability by the McGowan Government and the lack of a financial plan by the McGowan Government.  I have also continued my duties on the Standing Committee on Estimates and Financial Operations and the Select Committee into Elder Abuse.  My contribution to debate has included comments on the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill 2017, the Langoulant Report, Funding Cuts, Landsdale Farm, planning for population growth, the Federal Budget and the State Budget.  I have also submitted two petitions, one for Landsdale Farm and the other for the Joondalup/Wanneroo Road Overpass. 
Parliament is also an opportunity for me to make Member statements on issues of relevance.  As such I have made formal statements on Mr Brian Frederick Cooper OAM, a significant achiever for support and services to veterans, and who passed away in January of this year; the quality of responses being provided by the Government to parliamentary questions and requests for information; ANZAC Day, and in particular the importance of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux; the 2018 Youth Awards by Scouts WA; Landsdale Farm; and the Community Excellence Awards presented by WACOSS to organisations and individuals who are all deserving of our thanks and gratitude for the work they do.
Long Tan Peace Park, Koondoola
Congratulations to the City of Wanneroo and the Vietnamese Community in Australia – WA Chapter on the opening of the Long Tan Peace Park in Koondoola on 29 April.  I attended this event as did a large number of local people and a great many Vietnamese who now call Perth their home.  The commemoration of the Battle of Long Tan through the work of local sculpturer Mehdi Rasulle is something that I encourage all to admire, but also remember the sacrifices made by all our serving men and women.  My thanks to Dr Anh Nguyen for his hospitality on the day and his warm welcome – I thank him and the Vietnamese community in Perth for their contribution to the broader community.

Landsdale Farm School Update
 On 30 April I attended Landsdale Farm to receive a petition of nearly 6,000 signatures protesting the unfair education cuts of the McGowan Government.  While the cuts made to schools of the air, talented and gifted programs and Moora College have gained much public attention and support (forcing the Government to back down on some of its ill-considered cuts), the decision to cease funding of Landsdale Farm has been less prominent.  This important and iconic facility serves the community beyond Landsdale and is used by a great many children with disability.  The decision of the McGowan Government to cut its support for this school is simply wrong and seeks to punish children with disabilities and their families.
This is a local issue, but it is also one that extends into the broader community as the users of this school come from far and wide.  It is another example of the McGowan Government getting its priorities wrong, choosing to fund coffee vans, basketball courts and sports uniforms ahead of keeping a school used by children with a disability open.

Listening to the Community

I have a regular mobile booth in the community and if you have a few minutes and would like to stop by to chat about whatever issues or ideas you may have, I am here to listen.  I was at Ellersdale Reserve, Warwick on Saturday 19 May and it was a pleasure to meet with some local people.  Further locations and dates will be published on my website     
ANZAC service Albany – 25 and 26 April  

It was an honour to represent Hon Mike Nahan MLA, Leader of the Opposition for the ANZAC Day services in Albany.  I would like to thank those involved in making the arrangements, in particular, the Albany sub-branch of the RSL.  The dawn service was particularly moving and it was with mixed emotions of pride and sadness that I recalled the images of our young men leaving for WWI, and for many whom the sight of Albany would be the last they would ever have of Australia.  I particularly remembered those brave men who fought at the Battle of Villers- Brettoneux, many from Western Australia, and who as a result of their actions halted the German advance and marked the beginning of the road to armistice six and a half months later.
The memories of these men and the thousands of men and women who have served our country should be a constant reminder of the freedoms we have as Australians, and that they are freedoms won by the sacrifice of those who serve.
Lest we Forget.
As a member of the Elder Abuse Committee, I attended the National Elder Abuse Conference in Sydney. I look forward to contributing to a safer Western Australia for Seniors.

Local Projects Update

I have pushed the McGowan Government for answers on its Local Projects Local Jobs Grant program and the answers provided are at times inconsistent and seek to blur the issue rather than provide clarification.  The Government has effectively put in place a grants scheme totalling $39 million that is not open to all West Australians, seeks to reward those electorates in which Labor members have been elected, disregards the needs of organisations in Liberal-held seats, has few processes attached to them and has serious transparency and accountability deficiencies.  These are matters I continue to pursue in the Parliament and elsewhere and something that all West Australians should be concerned about because it underlines the hypocrisy of the Government when it mouths commitments to transparency, accountability, business cases and governing for all West Australians.
Congratulations to Owen Finis who as part of School Sport WA 12 Boys Basketball Team competed in Adelaide in December of last Year.  Owen had the privilege of being one of the Team’s captains, with the team coming away with a Bronze Medal and friendships that last a lifetime.  It is wonderful to hear of the successes of our youth and I wish Owen all the very best for a bright future.
The McGowan Government’s second budget was handed down on 10 May 2018.  After 14 months in Government, the rhetoric of blaming the previous Government for this Government’s obvious failure has now worn thin.  This budget, like the first, continues the attack on ordinary West Australians and yet has done nothing to fix the overall debt position that this Government is so good at pinning on others, and all the while adding to the ‘bottom line’. 
Courtesy of Mr McGowan we will now pay more for electricity, more for water, and more for general government services.  In this budget, the Labor Government will increase household tariffs, fees and charges by 4.8% and we are being asked to be grateful because it is down from the 7.7% increase last year.  That is a total of 12.5 % over two years.  If we look at electricity alone, this went up approximately 10% last year and this year it will go up another 7% - that is 17% in two years. None of this to significantly reduce debt, but simply to pay for other election commitments. 
This is a Government that is built on rhetoric, it has forgotten those in need, the vulnerable, the disadvantaged families.
There is good news for infrastructure projects, but this is not the work of the McGowan Government, rather it is the result of a significant injection of funding from the Liberal-led Federal Government.  What has been lost in the headlines though is that the amounts of funding announced are only part of the overall cost of the project.  We are still to find out where the State Government will find its share of the money, but more importantly, we are still to see an overall business case and a full costing of the project – one that will include the running costs, something which this Government has said very little about.

WACOSS Biennial Conference 
It was my pleasure to represent Hon Mike Nahan MLA, Leader of the Opposition at the WACOSS Conference held on 2 and 3 May 2018.  In my opening address of the Conference’s second day I spoke predominantly about the alienation experienced in our community, the very real issues of neglect and abuse that older West Australians experience and the value and importance of Community Resource Centres in regional areas. I thank the organisers of the conference for their invitation to speak and acknowledge the many other speakers and participants at this conference.

I congratulate the following winners of the Community Excellence Awards that were announced on the first night of the conference:
  • Befriend, Crawley
  • Tuart Place, Fremantle.
  • Parkerville Children and Youth Care, Armadale.
  • Youth Involvement Council, South Hedland.
  • Save the Children Youth Partnership Project, West Perth and Armadale.
  • Gumala Aboriginal Corporation, East Perth.
  • Ms Dellys Sice from the Manjimup Family Centre, Manjimup.
  • Ms Dawn Wallam from Yorganop, West Perth.
Busselton – 4 and 5 April  
In early April I had the opportunity to attend a number of events with the Member for Vasse in the Busselton Region.  It was a tremendous opportunity for me to meet a number of groups directly related to my portfolio responsibilities.  I would like to thank the Member for Vasse, Libby Mettam MLA (and her staff) for arranging this visit and providing the opportunities to meet with so many local people who are doing good work in the area.  People who are involved in the Cowaramup Men’s Shed, Sail into Life Disability Sailing, the Busselton Dunsborough Volunteer Centre, the Busselton Senior Citizens group and the Dunsborough branch of the Country Women’s Association





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