Beeliar Group members publish critical analysis of WA withdrawal from State of the Environment reporting
John Bailey, Trish Harris and Philip Jennings have published ‘State of the environment reporting in Western Australia: law, land and beyond‘ in the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management (12th August 2018):
Abstract: State of the environment (SoE) reporting has been in place in the majority of Australian jurisdictions since the early 1990s. Over the past decade, the process has stalled in Western Australia (WA) and, at present, shows no sign of reappearing. This is all the more serious since the degraded condition of the state’s environment calls out for regular review, analysis and action. We place this in a wider framework by (a) considering the significance of SoE reporting as a matter of collective responsibility, (b) mapping out a program of necessary legislative reform for WA and (c) outlining the challenges confronting SoE reporting as an act of public communication. Our thesis throughout is that SoE reporting combines ethical, democratic and environmental dimensions, and that the significance of WA’s withdrawal from the process can only be understood in this context.
Mangles Bay Marina, Point Peron: ABC Perth Radio interview
A/Prof Andrea Gaynor was interviewed on Focus with Nadia Mitsopoulos on 24th January. Listen here (at 44 minutes in) for a brief overview of why history tells us that the Mangles Bay Marina proposal shouldn’t go ahead, and the Cape Peron Coastal Park proposal should.
Never Again book launch, Sunday 3rd December 2017
A year after the fences went up around the Roe 8 reserve on Malvolio Road, the Beeliar Group and their community partners are launching their book on the Roe 8 saga:
Never Again: Reflections on Environmental Responsibility after Roe 8, edited by Andrea Gaynor, Peter Newman and Philip Jennings and published by UWA Publishing
The lead-up to the 2017 Western Australian state election saw a large and lively protest over the construction of stage 8 of the Roe Highway and the Perth Freight Link. Years of opposition to Roe 8 culminated in civil disobedience, mass arrests and media theatrics as the bulldozers tore across Aboriginal heritage sites and through much-loved bushland and wetland just weeks out from an election the government appeared likely to lose. When Labor was swept to power in the biggest landslide victory ever delivered by Western Australian voters the Roe 8 contracts were cancelled and regeneration of the damaged area commenced.
This book traces the history of Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link and records the diverse and vigorous resistance to the project. It illuminates what was at stake in the conflict and makes recommendations for action across transport, planning, environmental law, health and Aboriginal heritage policy areas to ensure that Western Australian people and environments never again have such a damaging project thrust upon them.
We invite you to join us to celebrate the collective effort that stopped the Perth Freight Link and to launch this book. There is much to reflect on and celebrate and we will do so in style, with music and dance, speeches, food and drink at the symbolic heart of Fremantle and site of some key events in the campaign against the Perth Freight Link – the Fremantle Town Hall!
DOORS OPEN AT 5PM | BOOK LAUNCH AT 6PM, FOLLOWED BY MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT UNTIL 10PM
Food and drink will be available to buy throughout the evening.
Tickets are free but essential and available through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/never-again-book-launch-tickets-39161658575
If you’re unable to make it to the launch but would like to purchase a copy of the book you can do so here: http://bit.ly/neveragainroe8
Beeliar Group signatories on Open Letter to the Australian PM
In October 2017 members of The Beeliar Group have added their signatures to an Open Letter to the Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, registering concern about the twin perils of climate change and nuclear weapons and requesting the Prime Minister meet with a delegation of scientists on these issues. The Open Letter can be viewed here: OPEN LETTER TO THE AUSTRALIAN PM_17-10-2017_including figures
Media campaigns on Roe 8/Perth Freight Link
In early 2017 the City of Melville and the Liberal Party engaged in an expensive advertising campaign to inform the public of their version of the “truth” about Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link. Some of us believed that these advertisements were misleading as they contained half truths, falsehoods and selective use of factual information.
Members of the Beeliar Group attempted to correct these errors through letters to the editors, but only some of our information was published. Some examples of letters that did not appear in the mainstream media are linked below, along with those that did. They are essential reading for anyone who wishes to know the full picture about Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link.
- Andrea Gaynor and 22 professorial colleagues. ‘Agency had reservations about PFL’, West Australian 24.2.17, p.26.
- Peter Newman. Outer harbour a huge opportunity Letter to the editor, West Australian 17.2.2017 sailing-ship-harbour-or-indian-ocean-gateway
- Philip Jennings. Using ratepayers funds to spread misinformation. Unpublished letter to the editor, Melville Times, 19.1.2017 using-ratepayers-funds-to-spread-misinformation
- Philip Jennings. Serious lack of environmental awareness. Unpublished letter to the editor, Fremantle Herald, 12.2.2017 serious-lack-of-environmental-awareness
- Patricia Harris. Bulldozing logic. Unpublished letter to the editor, 15.1.2017 bulldozing-logic
- Andrea Gaynor. Roe 8 is an expensive redundancy. Letter to the editor, West Australian, 30.12.2016 p.46.
Roe 8 construction zone contains a rare and significant Aboriginal archaeological site.
Archeologists Dr Joe Dortch and Dr Fiona Hook have recovered flaked stone artefacts made from quartz, crystal quartz, chert, and two small fragments of granite from site DAA 4107, which lies across the Roe 8 construction zone in the Beeliar Regional Park. Significantly, they also found that the ground in and surrounding the dig site was relatively undisturbed, thus contradicting an earlier report’s claim—on which removal of the site from the WA Register of Aboriginal Sites in 2015 was based—that the ground was too disturbed to reveal anything of archeological significance.
On the basis of their findings Dortch and Hook have concluded:
The presence of artefacts and charcoal in undisturbed deposits means that there is potential for a history or sequence of activities and events over thousands of years to be reconstructed. This is a rare opportunity in the metropolitan area where ongoing development has destroyed and disturbed many locations where subsurface archaeological material may be present. Overall, the record of site occupation and the context can provide significant insights into Aboriginal history. The present assessment confirms previous assessments that the deposit at DAA 4107 covers a considerable time span. 
Dortch and Hook also maintain that the site in question is a “significant, sub-surface Aboriginal archaeological site”; that the previous Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee (ACMC) determination was based on “poorly assessed and incorrect information”; that the site should be reconsidered as it is of “importance and significance to the Noongar people”; and that nearby areas, including areas within the Roe 8 construction corridor, will contain significant Aboriginal heritage sites”. They also noted that recent vegetation clearing will not have affected deeper and older layers. The archeologists did their pro bono dig on behalf of Corina Abraham, custodian from Whadjuk Noongar country.
 Hook, F. Dortch, J. Report of the Shovel Test Pitting Survey of DAA 4107 (Bibra Lake North) within Lot 65, between Walliabup and Coolbellup Lakes, City of Cockburn, February 1, 2017, p. 10, https://roguearchaeologist.wixsite.com/daa4107
 Ibid, p. 11