Town Hall Meeting Minutes May 2023

06 May 2023


Hon. Don Punch MLA

Community Town Meeting

10am, Saturday 6 May, 2023

Dolphin Discovery Centre, Anchorage Cove, Bunbury



10am                    Overview of current priorities –


Sporting Investments

  • Work to enable the indoor courts commitment to be undertaken by the Bunbury Basket ball Association is being done now. The issue will return to Council on 28 June for a final decision
  • Construction at Hands Oval due to commence in June.


Infrastructure Investments

  • BORR remains on track for completion in 2024
  • A $511million commitment to public and social housing statewide
  • The Federal Government has committed to building 1200 houses in WA


Community Investments

  • The final funding for the Dalyellup Community Hub is in the process of being resolved.
  • The Federal Government is working to remove Visa barriers to expand our workforce.



  • Major focus in the Parliament next week will be the handing down of the state budget.
  • Local Government Amendments Bill progressing through the Upper House


10.10am             Feedback from previous Town Hall Meeting


Mental Health Co-response – 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. A response has been received:


The MHCR commenced service delivery in Bunbury in July 2022 as a four-day week service, Wednesday - Saturday 1 pm to 11 pm. On 17 October 2022 the MHCR service expanded to a six-day week service, Monday - Saturday 1pm to 11pm. Currently, the MHCR only operates in the town of Bunbury with plans to provide a telehealth service or a spoke model to the rest of the South West early in 2023.


The MHCR clinicians work out of the Bunbury Police Station but are employed by the WA Country Health Service. The two authorised Mental Health Practitioners work alongside the police when attending a police welfare check and undertake a mental health assessment in the consumer s home when required. Following the mental health assessment, the clinician then provides police with advice to assist with the decision as to whether the consumer is safe to stay at home or requires a hospital admission. There are also plans to employ Aboriginal Health Workers within the MHCR Bunbury team to provide a culturally responsive service to the community.



Planning and Main Roads Meetings In response to some of the issues most commonly raised at Town Hall Meetings Don undertook to arrange community briefings and information sessions by outside agencies, beginning with Main Roads and Planning.


On 25 March, Mr Rob Barnsley from Main Roads delivered a community briefing about regional road projects and issues and on 22 April Ms Cate Gustavsson from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage visited Bunbury to conduct an information session about the policies and principles that underpin planning in WA.


If there are other agencies people would like to hear from in the future, please raise your matters of interest at a Town Hall Meeting and we will endeavour to arrange a workshop of briefing to address those issues.


Recycling of solar panels and lithium batteries

At the previous meeting a number of questions were asked about the plans to develop recycling options for lithium batteries and for solar panels as we move further into renewable energy.


Don wrote to Ministers Johnson and Whitby. We are waiting for a response from Min Johnston but a response has been received from Min. Whitby -


As you have identified, ideally end-of-life recycling solutions should be driven by the product manufacturers or suppliers. For this reason, the Western Australian Government advocates to the Commonwealth Government for effective national product stewardship schemes, including for renewable energy systems.


The Battery Stewardship Council s national product stewardship scheme, B-cycle, is developing battery recycling collection points throughout Australia and providing the pathways to recycling of those batteries. Details of batteries collected, which include some lithium chemistry batteries, and locations of collection points can be found at


Photovoltaic systems, which include solar panels, are identified as a priority product under Commonwealth product stewardship legislation. In October 2022, Environment Ministers from all jurisdictions noted the Commonwealth Government s intention to develop a regulatory product stewardship scheme for solar panels and household electronics.


The Western Australian Government is working to deliver a ban on e-waste disposal to landfill by 2024. Community and industry feedback on the proposed scope of the ban was sought through public consultation in March 2023. While batteries are proposed to be included in the first phase of bans, photovoltaic systems are likely to fall into future phases to complement the introduction of effective product stewardship schemes.


Alongside the proposed e-waste ban, $10.1 million in grant funding has been made available for projects delivering collection and processing infrastructure for e-waste, including batteries and photovoltaic systems. Applications for round one of funding closed on 31 March 2023 and successful recipients are expected to be announced around the middle of this year.


Transforming Bunbury’s Waterfront

Concerns were raised at the previous meeting that once redeveloped there would be one way in and one way out of the Outer Harbour, creating a safety risk.


Advice was sought from the South West Development Commission and a response received –


  • A speed limit of 40km/h along Casuarina Drive will slow traffic and reduce the risk of accidents.
  • The upgrade to Casuarina Drive has been designed and constructed in accordance with Australian Standards, including those for safety.
  • Parking bays along Casuarina Drive are wider than Australian Standards.
  • Paving of sections of the road surface provides traffic calming.
  • Should the sealed part of Casuarina Drive become obstructed for any reason, any emergency response is likely to include removal of obstructions.  
  • During such an event, light vehicle access to the Outer Harbour could be provided temporarily via the newly-constructed maintenance access track to the west of Casuarina Drive



Water Security

The issue of water security for the local area was raised at the previous meeting. Don wrote to Minister McGurk seeking an update on the matter and has received a response (excerpt below)-


Groundwater resources in the Bunbury area are managed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) under the South-West groundwater areas allocation plan, published in 2009. This plan outlines where groundwater is available and how much can be licensed for use under allocation limits.


The plan is publicly available at


Approximately 45% of the groundwater currently taken in the Bunbury groundwater management area is for public water supplies delivered by Aqwest (Bunbury) and the Water Corporation (Australind-Eaton, Dalyellup, Daradanup and Boyanup). The groundwater is primarily from the Yarragadee aquifer.


The remaining groundwater use is self-supplied - mainly by industry and agriculture using privately-owned bores and by local government for irrigating urban greenspaces. There is limited groundwater available for further licensing for these uses in the Bunbury groundwater management area; however, about five gigalitres per year has been reserved for future public water supply needs.


… Aqwest and the Water Corporation have long-term plans that identify water supply options to support growth in the region, including the Greater Bunbury Urban Water Strategy 2020 - 2070 and Water Forever: South West respectively. Planning by Aqwest triggered the construction of the Ngoora Moolinap (Glen Iris) water treatment plant, which allowed the decommissioning of some coastal bores to prevent saline intrusion and degradation of the Yarragadee aquifer


Hayes Street

Concerns were raised about the state of Hayes Street in East Bunbury and whether or not it is sinking. A request for advice was sent to the City of Bunbury.


A response is yet to be received


Casuarina Harbour

An attendee at the previous meeting asked why Casuarina Habour boat ramp does not have a handrail. This question was forwarded to the office of Minister Saffioti.


A response is yet to be received.


10.20am             Item One – The use of our public open spaces


Proposed by Tracey Cowan


Following on from recent discussion about the upkeep of our parks, Tracey Cowan has raised the issue of the uses we assign to our public open spaces to meet specific community needs. Tracey is very much aware of the impact of this issue as she is a leading campaigner for upgrades to the dog park on Parade Road.


Around Bunbury we do have a number of public open spaces that have been developed to support specific community interests and needs.


The Maidens Reserve is an area of high environmental value that is highly appreciated by the community. The plans to develop an accessible lookout on this site will cater to those in our community with environmental interests.


The new playground at Mangrove Cove is an all abilities accessible playground for children, and people in general, who experience access barriers.


The Youth Precinct provides a range of facilities to cater for the interests of young people in our community in our public open space.


Not all public spaces can be all things to all people and often different groups in the community will wish to use those spaces for contradictory purposes. It makes sense for some space to be specialised to meet specific community needs.


What other specialised/dedicated spaces does our community  need? How should these be identified and developed?


Tracey Cowan spoke to the challenges of advocating for the dog park and the work that has been undertaken by volunteers to try to secure the necessary improvements to meet community needs and expectations.


Tracey asked if development of Casuarina Drive will impact on the off leash dog area at Jetty Baths. Don will write to the City of Bunbury to confirm.


Nick Lucas – also concerned about impacts on dog use area at Casuarina


Kim Rudd raised concerns about conflicts between dog walkers and cyclists. Suggested some parks could be designated for dogs in early mornings and evening when children and families are not using those areas.


Nick Lucas – Asked if Punchbowl is a designated dog area. Don answered no.



10.40am             Item Two – Management of our prisons


                             Proposed by Don Reid


                             There has been a lot of recent attention on the management of WA prisons, particular facilities that house young people.


                             There have been a number of violent incidents that have seen prisoner riot.


The Government response to these incidences, which prioritises the safety of staff, is seen by Mr Reid to further alienate inmates. He asks the question, “In what way does the government see improving the protection of prison guards change the behaviour of prisoners for the better?”


The safety policy the Prison Guards Union had been asking for was a minimum ratio of two officer to every 8 inmates at Banksia Hill and officers always being paired up for their own safety A new policy has now been agreed to.


Don Reid spoke. He opposed an increase of the ratio of guards to inmates. He feels all government actions are about power and force which actually leads to more violence as inmates rebel and act out.


Comment – often by the time someone is incarcerated they have been charged many times.


Comment – a lot of crime is a result of boredom and substance abuse, and these issues need to be addressed.


Tracey Cowan – Is there a need for more family support before criminal activities begin?


Comment – Education and support services need to start when children are very young – preschool and younger. The current system seems geared towards recidivism. With private operators in prison management recidivism improves their profits.


Comment – bring back conscription


Jane Anderson – Not enough mental and physical health assessments are conducted of young offenders and appropriate treatments are not provided during incarceration. Multigenerational incarceration, particularly in Indigenous families, is a major issue.


Comment – Longer term funding for services and programs need to be provided to promote continuity and trust within the community. Don – that is about relationship building to promote behavioural change. He spoke of the impact of competitive tendering and his belief that five year funding should be the minimum arrangement followed by possible five year extension.


Don explained the work being done in the area of juvenile justice. He described Target 120 as a response that has been very successful statewide and here in Bunbury.


He explained a young person sentenced to Banksia will stay there until the end of their sentence – even after they turn 18 – current oldest inmate is 23. The closure of the remand centre means there is a combination of sentenced people and those on remand which presents challenges. It is essential the safety of staff is protected at all times.


Don explained the new policy for staff and the appointment of Tim Marney. A new model of care is being developed and funding is being provided for crisis care, mental health services, intensive supports and infrastructure upgrades.



11.00am             Item Three – The Voice to Parliament


                             This is an opportunity to have a conversation about the proposal for constitutional recognition for First Nations people through the creation of a Voice to Parliament.


Do people understand the referendum process?


Is more understanding of what the Voice is needed?


What information would people like to receive?


Would anyone like to sign up to receive information about the yes campaign?


Don provided the background of a referendum. He explained the Uluru dialogue and the origins of the Voice proposition.


Question – what will be the benefits of the Voice for young people? Don explained historically groups have been established by one government and abolished by the next (eg ATSIC) the Voice will provide certainty. He explained the proposed structure of the Voice and its roles. It will be a ground up body that is informed by grassroots concerns.


Question – In SA there is a state Voice. What are the views in WA? Don explained we have the Indigenous Advisory Body. WA will consider what structure we should have in place to best interact with Federal structures after the outcome of the referendum is known.


Question – How do we access information. Don’s office will send out information on request.


Question – With issues of violence in Alice Springs etc, why are we waiting for a Voice rather than acting. Don - We are acting but these are complex issues and the Voice will offer an opportunity to find long term solutions.




11.10am             General Q&A


NDIS and Robust housing – A meeting attendee is friends with the parents of a high needs young person who has been in hospital for more than 150 days. He has two security guards with him all the time because he can’t access robust housing. He has been told he will be there for at least another year. Don – it is difficult to discuss individual cases due to privacy issues. He believes the family is in touch with Ministerial office policy officer. He explained the role of robust housing and the specialized design. He has tasked his department to see how robust housing investments can be progressed. Currently there is housing in Perth but Don wants to see the provision of robust housing in the regions. He encouraged contact with his office. The Electorate Office will follow up  to see if family is engaged and if anything additional can be done.


Is there money for additional housing in the budget? Don – yes (described the new commitments by the State and Federal Governments) and we will be seeking to secure some of the funding for Bunbury.


Nick Lucas – Made a complaint that the lighting on Vittoria Road is very poor. Don – has written to the city on this issue previously and will provide copies of the correspondence to Nick. Don is hopeful the road works at the intersection with South West HIghway will result in some improved lighting at that end of Vittoria Road.




11.30am             Meeting concludes