Parliament must not block Councils acting in community interest

Western Australia’s peak environment group has called on WA Members of Parliament to support Local Government laws that protect the environment and act in the interests of communities following a move by Peter Katsambanis MLC to disallow a plastic bag ban passed by the City of Fremantle. 

The proposed Local Government law has the backing of a Parliamentary Committee and is supported by the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, however Mr. Katsambanis claimed his blocking motion was in the interests of local retailers who had expressed concerns about the law.

Conservation Council Director Piers Verstegen said “With State and Local Government failing on so many environmental issues, communities are increasingly turning to Local Government and in many cases they are responding.

“Whether it is supporting community to reduce plastic pollution, opposing nuclear activities, protecting forests or protecting land and water against unwanted invasive gas fracking, Local Government has a critical role in working with communities to address environment and sustainability challenges.

“Where State Governments have been unwilling or unable address these issues, we call on the WA Parliament to get out of the way when Local Governments are showing leadership.

“If Mr. Katsambanis is acting on behalf of businesses to block community-initiated environmental reforms then the community has a right to know which businesses he is acting on behalf of.

“Extensive consultation has been undertaken in Fremantle to develop a workable solution to plastic pollution that is supported by the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce and the Fremantle community.

“It would be very disappointing if the WA Parliament allowed a positive local solution to be blocked by a Member of Parliament acting on behalf of undisclosed businesses interests.

“We call on Mr. Katsambanis to remove his disallowance motion and we call on the WA Parliament to support the important role that Local Government has in protecting the environment and acting in the interests of communities.”

Comment: Piers Verstegen, 0411 557 892