Hon. Don Punch MLA
Community Town Meeting
10am, Saturday 25 February, 2023
Dolphin Discovery Centre, Anchorage Cove, Bunbury
10am Overview of current priorities –
Don welcomed everyone and explained the structure of the meeting.
- Planning for basketball courts is ongoing
- Additional $3million committed to Hands Oval
- Funding for the hospital increased to $277million and will included expanded maternity services as well as an additional surgical theatre, improved mental health facilities and an expanded ED. The Government recently called for Expressions for Interest from potential managing contractors.
- Planning for Dalyellup Community Hub progressing
- Opened the new Mangrove Cove accessible playground yesterday
- Coming up – Local Government Amendment Bill, Major Events Bill, Main Roads Amendment Bill, changes to the Firearms Control Act
10.10am Feedback from previous Town Hall Meeting
Community Safety/ Lack of Lighting in Public Spaces– At the previous meeting, attendees expressed disappoint at the City of Bunbury’s response to queries regarding lighting in public spaces. The vast majority of the City’s plans for lighting are driven by traffic needs not the needs of people navigating their suburb on foot.
Don wrote to the City of Bunbury to share the concerns of the community regarding the provision of lighting in public spaces and received a response.
The City has limited funding for lighting and all requests received are assessed and prioritised within the available budget. In addition to street lighting for road safety, the City has undertaken a number of pedestrian safety lighting projects including lighting laneways and path linkages, for example the cycle path connection Dalyellup. The City does not have the budget to plan and implement a lighting strategy throughout all of Bunbury’s suburbs, however as mentioned individual requests can be submitted which are assessed and prioritised. There are a number of ways that the City looks to improve pedestrian safety which includes where possible the construction of new footpaths on the same side of the road as any existing street lighting.
…The City is currently establishing a Community Safety Advisory Group, one of the key activities will be the development of Community Safety Plan, which will include community engagement. I would encourage any resident concerned about community safety to participate in the surveys and workshops. Further information will be provided in the new year through the City’s Social Media pages. The Community Safety Advisory Group will be the responsibility of the City’s Sustainable Communities team.
Mental Health Co-Response Team – More information was requested about the Mental Health Co-Response team that has been created in Bunbury and how it functions. A request for information was sent to Minister Sanderson.
Planning Processes – A number of planning matters have been raised at recent Community Town Hall Meetings. People expressed frustration that their concerns were not being heard. Don asked if there was value in asking a planning professional to conduct a workshop to explain the principles of planning and valid grounds for objections. It was agreed this was of interested to people.
Don has been in touch with the office of the Minister for Planning and has negotiated for someone from the WAPC to conduct a workshop on planning principles in Bunbury. The workshop is expected to be held in late April/early May.
This will not be an opportunity to review local planning decisions. It will be a workshop to help people have a better understanding of how planning decisions are made and the principles that underpin them. It will assist people to be more effective when they are seeking to make submissions to local governments about proposed developments.
At the previous meeting people indicated they would like special guests to attend meeting or standalone meeting to be held for specific issues.
Don has negotiated with the Minister for Transport for a standalone meeting with representatives from Main Road to discuss local road network issues. Attendees will be asked to submit questions by email in advance of the March 25 meeting. All CRG members and Community Town Hall Meeting Attendees will be notified of the meeting once the details are confirmed.
A number of issues about roads raised at previous meetings will be best addressed at the Main Roads Community Briefing session. If questions are not submitted in advance, they may not be answered at the briefing session and will instead be taken on notice.
All questions to be asked at the Main Roads Community Briefing session must be submitted to my office in advance of the meeting.
Concerns about the Cat Act and its perceived lack of effectiveness were raised.
Don discussed the matter with Minister Carey. The Cat Act is on the agenda to be reviewed but this is unlikely to occur before next year. The Shire of Capel is continuing to identify ways it can improve its interactions regarding cats.
Update on Buses
An update on the progress of a review of bus services in Bunbury was requested.
Don has been advised the PTA lease on the Bunbury Bus Terminal is coming to an end. Confirmation of the long term location of the bus station must be obtained before any review of routes can be undertaken.
Concerns were raised about asbestos being left out on road verges for the roadside pickups. Don wrote to the City of Bunbury about the issues and received a reply –
Information in relation to hard waste collections, what won’t be collected and how this will be managed can be found on the City’s website at: Waste Collections - City of Bunbury.
This states (in part): “Items we don’t collect:
- Building materials such as bricks, rubble, sand, concrete or cement
- Motor vehicle parts or tyres
- Asbestos or fibre cement products
- Flammable or chemical liquids (including paint and oil)*
- Green waste
- Gas bottles
- Commercial crates/pallets
Non-compliant items will be left and the resident will be responsible for the removal and correct disposal of these items. A letter from the City of Bunbury will be placed in your letter box explaining why the items were left behind and advice on how to dispose of them.“
Community members concerned regarding improper disposal of asbestos can submit a complaint to the City’s Environmental Health Services. Complaint forms are available on the City’s website at: Fillable-Environmental-Health-Complaint-Form-1.pdf (bunbury.wa.gov.au) or community members can contact the City directly on 9792 7000 and provide the relevant details. An Environmental Health Officer will investigate the complaint and take action as appropriate.
There were concerns communication from the City of Bunbury about the Withers renewal project is not adequate to engage the community.
Don wrote to the City of Bunbury and received a reply –
The Withers Renewal Project is being coordinated by the Department of Communities (DoC) with communications being undertaken by DoC and its Consultant Creative Communities. The project team were very conscious of not sharing information until there were definite dates for deliverables, due to the number of false starts there have been in Withers over the years.
The issue of communication across the whole Withers suburb was raised at the previous Withers Community Workshop and the outcome of the discussion in the workshop was that there would be a newsletter drop to ensure each resident is directly informed/kept up to date. There is a neighbourhood wide newsletter drop being planned, the content of which has been developed by Creative Communities and is currently with the DoC for sign off. The intent is for this to be delivered in December 2022. The City was invited to provide content.
It is intended that the newsletter will be an ongoing initiative delivered every 2 months so that the community is more informed. The City will also work to promote information on the Withers project through its channels.
10.20am Item One – Recycling of Lithium Batteries
Proposed by Don Reid
Mr Reid suggested this item for discussion as he is concerned there are inadequate plans in place for the recycling of lithium batteries.
The CSIRO advises 95 per cent of lithium battery components can be turned into new batteries, but in 2021 only 10 per cent of Australia’s lithium ion battery waste was recycled. The majority of battery waste is shipped oversea but the remainder ends up in landfill.
In 2020, CSIRO and the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre published the most up-to-date, comprehensive review of the status of lithium-ion battery recycling industry in Australia. The 'Australian Landscape for Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling and Reuse in 2020' The report identified 18 opportunities for industry, government and research institutions to strengthen and grow Australia's domestic recycling capability, and generate new industries and employment opportunities.
Lithium Australia, based in Perth has partnered with Envirostream Australia to invest in the infrastructure needed to recycle lithium ion batteries. Envirostream is Australia’s only EPA permitted and licenced recycler of mixed batteries.
New techniques are being developed (in the USA) to refurbish the cathodes to recycle batteries. This technique new but current indications are than the recycled batteries are more efficient than the original battery – they last longer and charge faster.
Lithium Australia has been successful converting mine waste and spent lithium ion batteries into high performance lithium-ion battery cathodes.
- Don Reid introduced the issue and explained his concerns. He is particularly concerned with discarded car batteries.
- Several people stated they have similar concerns.
- Rob Gates believes in the need more research and better design.
- Don described the investment in lithium research both for the development of new products and end of life processes.
- Constituent asked shouldn’t disposal be part of the development of new products, shouldn’t it be built in? Don explained that is happening in Europe and that Australia is catching up. In WA we have started with phasing out single use plastic.
- John McKay asked about the risk associated with fire due to lithium batteries and impact that will have on our insurance etc. Don spoke of it as an emerging issue that authorities are identifying ways to address world wide.
- Don to write to Minister Whitby and Johnston to request details of plans for recycling into the future.
10.40am Item Two – Housing needs in Bunbury
Proposed by Mary Dunlop
Mary explained her concerns as the need is urgent and growing. We already have a significant issue, what if there was a natural disaster? The number of vacant properties is concerning when we have such homeless ness problem.
- There is $4.742 million allocated for a planned 13 new public housing construction across Bunbury to 2025/26.
- Of the 13, 9 new units will be built on the corner of Minninup Road.
- Our Government has significantly increased funding in the housing and homelessness space, investing a record $2.4 billion in housing and homelessness, including $225 million of investment in homelessness services and infrastructure this financial year alone.
- This includes a landmark $24.2 million homelessness reform package which will, in partnership with Housing Choices, deliver 100 homes for rough sleepers across Perth, Peel and Bunbury through the successful supported landlord model.
- In terms of housing, our government has added over 1,000 social homes with more than 1,050 under contract or construction.
- The State Government also continues to support the Community Housing Sector through two rounds of the SHERP grant program to deliver more than 320 new social housing dwellings, including in Bunbury.
- Vacancy numbers are always a single point in time number that fluctuates for a range of reasons. Properties may be awaiting acceptance of offers from applicants, undergoing minor maintenance repairs or refurbishment prior to new occupants moving in, or undergoing major refurbishment as part of a redevelopment.
Withers Bunbury Regional Renewal Project
- The project remains on-track for full delivery by 30 June 2024.
- Key milestones include:
- Civil works (new connector roads):
- Kookaburra Drive officially opened in October 2022.
- Jacaranda Crescent to Hudson Road – tender has been released and closed 9 February 2023. It is currently undergoing evaluation. A decision by the City of Bunbury is expected in April 2023.
- Reynolds Way to Mawson Place; Stallard Place to Hooper Place and Rand Court to Davenport Way – are currently out for tender and closing March 2023. A decision by the City of Bunbury is expected in April 2023.
- Demolition works
- All demolition work is now completed. Six untenable social housing dwellings were demolished for the five new road connections.
- Three fully completed, two awarded to a contractor and will start imminently, three fully scoped and will be awarded soon.
- Communication and Engagement Management
- Community workshops were held in October 2022 and December 2022 to discuss project ideas and opportunities for collaboration from interested active groups in the area.
- A community update newsletter has been finalised and will be made available at various key gathering locations across Withers.
Don explained the difficult in getting housing built at the moment.
Explained the federal government commitment and the fact there are three streams of housing delivery – public, social and private market – all are experiencing significant supply chain issues.
There is a number of affordable houses being completed in Dallyellup.
Don met with DWO to understand how Housing First is rolling out.
Constituent raised concerns about delays to development through the WAPC that are preventing new housing from being built.
Don explained a new fund to support developers with the cost of headworks to accelerate developments.
Don acknowledged land supply is an inhibitor to new development.
11.00am Item Three – Parks and their Upkeep
Proposed by Rob Gates
Rob is particularly concerned with the state of the lawns at Honey Park in Carey Park but it leads into a broad discussion about the condition and upkeep of suburban parks in Bunbury, which parks are well looked after and how could others be improved.
It has been a focus of mine since I was first elected in 2017 to advocate for the improvement of local suburban parks in Bunbury.
Since 2017, the following Bunbury Parks have been created –
Mangrove Cove Shipwreck Playground
Mangrove Cove Nature Play area
Koombana Bay Waterfront Playground
And the following Bunbury parks have been completely refurbished –
Maidens Park Reserve
Publicly accessible parts of Picton Primary School play equipment
The City of Bunbury called for feedback about its parks to inform a public open space strategy in 2019 but that process seems to have stalled.
Recently the City has begun referring to the Bunbury Parks and Playground Action Plan and has indicated that the Action Plan will go to Council for endorsement by June 30 this year.
I will ensure any feedback about parks needing particular attention or significant changes is fed back to the City of Bunbury.
11.10am General Q&A
Questions from the floor
John Barnes – Bunbury supposed to be the gateway to the south west but it is struggling. A Fast Train would help. What is going on with that project? Don provided update on the study and the issues that need to be addressed (eg need to maintain commuter service for inland towns).
A gentleman asked why it wasn’t built as part of Forrest Highway. Don explained congestion and engineering issues on that route at the time.
Rob Gates – Wants Don to acknowledge Country at the beginning of meetings – Don agreed.
A gentleman raised concerns the development of the outer harbour is one road in one out which creates safety risks. Don explained the nature of the development would be primarily for marine industry but agreed cruise ships would go through there. He will raise the matter with SWDC.
Mark Brindley – Raised concerns regarding solar panel recycling. Is there any thought to develop such an industry locally. All agreed manufacturers need to have an end of life plan for their products. Thousands of solar panels will reach end of life at the same time. Don – not aware of any major recycling plans in the State but will raise with Min. Whitby and Min. Johnston. John McKay raised that inverts will expire prior to panels but retailers will not sell a new inverter without panels, mean panels needing to be recycled earlier. Don will research current policy thinking.
John Barnes – The City of Bunbury is a very high rating/taxing entity. One of the reasons is we don’t have enough rate payers. He would like to see high rise along the back beach to increase dwellings and therefore lower rates for every one. Don agreed there is a need to increase density but it must be appropriately planned. There are land tenure issues along the back beach, some of the land is privately owned. Tresslyn – that area is zoned for tourism which can limit residential options. Council is currently considering those issues and ways to overcome some of the constraints.
A lady asked about water security. Are our water tables dropping? How are we going to manage all these new developments and their need for water? Don acknowledged there are water infrastructure issues and our capacity to draw down on aquifers is diminishing. The Minister is rolling out initiatives to save water. Don is expecting further desalination plants to be developed. The constituent wants that to happen now not once irreparable damage has been done to environment. Don will seek update from the Minister about current planning for water security. Don spoke of the need for more water recycling, especially for irrigating green spaces.
Maureen Bowden from Glen Iris – What is going on with roundabout at Vittoria Road/SW Highway. Don provided update and explained the preloading process.
John Barnes – Why does Bunbury not have an international airport? Don explained why the regional airport was built in Busselton and Bunbury will become the equivalent of the Jandakot airport.
A lady raised concerns about Hay Street, she thinks it is sinking. Don will raise the matter with the City if Bunbury.
Another gentleman spoke of his concerns hackers or bad state actors could take out our water and power infrastructure in summer. Don explained cyber defence systems in WA to prevent attacks. All agencies required to have cyber defence strategy. State Emergency Council analyses risk and does management strategies for identified risks.
Mary Dunlop – Why are we planning for more fuel stations given we are transitioning to electric vehicles. Don explained while investment is continuing into petrol stations, and cafes and charging stations, there is an opportunity for Main Roads to secure a return for their work.
Tom Savoury asked, “Why does Casuarina Harbour boat ramp not have a handrail?” Don will raise the matter with the Minister for Transport.
11.25am Draw winners of Chef’s Long Table Lunch tickets from CRG membership.
Chef’s long table – Kade Helms
Exhibition – Rolf Stene
11.30am Meeting concludes