By Hon. Tim Clifford, MLC for East Metropolitan
One of the reasons I signed up for this ‘job’ was my absolute conviction that something can and should be done to stop the effects of climate change. As a kid, growing up on the south coast of Western Australia I took for granted the beauty and accessibility of the environment around me. As time has gone on I have realised more and more how fragile that environment is, and I take my role in protecting it from the effects of climate change incredibly seriously.
I was so proud and humbled to walk alongside the thousands of school children who walked out of school for a day to make their voices heard. Every one of them is a leader and I admire their courage in standing up for what it is important. It was such an inspiring day for me and reminded me of my responsibilities as a parliamentarian to fight to protect our future from the impacts of climate change.
In the very same week the McGowan Government announced it would ignore the Environmental Protection Authority’s recommendations to require companies to offset their emissions. This would have had serious impact on companies producing and processing gas, such as Chevron ‒ a company that makes $32 million a day and is one of the 100 companies responsible for 71 per cent of global emissions. It was an appalling and transparent demonstration of the government’s allegiances to industry and their blatant disregard for the people and the planet it purports to represent.
I was so disgusted by this that I brought a motion to parliament condemning the McGowan Government for its disregard towards the experts in this field, and for caring more a the interests of the fossil fuel industry than it does about the people of WA. I also called on the McGowan Government to act with integrity and endorse the EPA’s recommendations to actively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring a future of our children and grandchildren.
This month I attended the ‘Make Renting Fair’ conference. It was pleasing to see such a strong coalition representing the housing sector and pushing for reforms to renting in WA. I will continue to advocate for strong reforms in the Residential Tenancies Act to support the following changes:
- End unfair evictions — stop tenants being evicted without a valid reason, and introduce reasonable grounds for ending a tenancy.
- Allow reasonable modifications ‒ renters should be allowed to make their house a home.
- Create minimum standards ‒ housing should be fit for people to live in and not make you sick.
- Stabilise rent increases ‒ a mechanism to cap unfair rent increases.
- Include boarders and lodgers ‒ extend legal protection to boarders and lodgers.
- Allow pets ‒ tenants shouldn’t have to choose between a family member and a home.
- Quick, fair and consistent dispute resolution ‒ introduce mediation and reported decisions for greater clarity.
- Better deal for public housing tenants ‒ remove provisions that discriminate against public housing tenants.
- Increase access to tenant advocacy and information ‒ make advocacy services and tenancy information available to all renters.
- Climate change readiness ‒ government funding and incentives are needed to adapt existing rental housing stock to be resilient in extreme weather conditions caused by a changing climate.
Local Issues – Stoneville
Sweeping the border of the East Metropolitan region is the stunning ‘Hills’ area. Many readers will have bush walked or enjoyed this amenity in some way, others may live in this beautiful area. The residents of the Perth Hills have been fighting for years to protect and preserve the culture and environment in their neighbourhood. Unfortunately, like so many other issues, it is up to the community to try to stand up against big business for what is right. A brave and well organised community group are standing up to the Satterley property group who are pushing for a development in the Perth Hills. Development that is inappropriate for the area, will see unrealistic burdens placed on infrastructure and poses a dangerous fire risk.
I stood alongside more than 1000 community members to protest the North Stoneville development and have asked questions in parliament to help support the community to effectively oppose this development. I encourage you to support this cause by signing up to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/saveperthhills/
In the Back (Green) Room
I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to the staff who support me in my work. The offices of a State MP are a lean affair with just two full time staff and two part time staff to support me to cover a dozen portfolios as well as help me represent my electorate. I would like to shout out a big special thanks to Grace Turco who has worked on my social media for the past 18 months in a part time capacity. I’m really proud to say that after a stint with Senator Rachel Siewert’s office, Grace has been offered, and has accepted, a full-time position there. Congratulations Grace! We were lucky to have been able to find such a competent and talented media person in Talitha Wolfe who has covered off Grace’s work while she was on secondment at Rachel’s office.
Header photo: Tim framed at the housing conference
Text photo: Tim at the School Strike 4 Climate demonstration on 15th March