Northern suburbs residents take part in community Cabinet

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A community Cabinet during which northern suburbs residents could direct their questions to a relevant minister was held in Joondalup on Sunday, November 22.

THE McGowan Government held a community Cabinet in Joondalup on Sunday during which people could direct their questions to a relevant minister.

Heather Cole from Quinns Rocks asked Health Minister Roger Cook when there was going to be another hospital in the northern corridor.

Mr Cook said $256.7m was being spent in a redevelopment of Joondalup Hospital but as the population in the northern corridor increased more facilities would be needed.

He said the government was working with developers on a new health centre for Yanchep.

One resident told Environment, Disability Services and Electoral Affairs Minister Stephen Dawson he would like a bridge joining Wanneroo and Joondalup from Rotary Park to Neil Hawkins Park.

Mr Dawson said while he was the minister responsible for parks the question would be better directed to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti.

As Ms Saffioti was not at the community Cabinet he said he would ensure the question was passed on to her.

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery was asked about letting the community know about what resources were available at schools after hours.

Ms Ellery said her Parliamentary Secretary Samantha Rowe, who is an East Metropolitan MLC, had been looking into this and she expected information to be released soon.

Renata Zelinova from Quinns Rocks Environmental Group said the group had been advocating for a long time to ensure bushland areas recognised as having high conservation values were formally protected.

Mrs Zelinova said with all the development allowed to proceed in the north west corridor, many of the areas remained in unsecure tenure and were not managed for conservation. “Specifically, when is the government going to finalise all long-proposed land additions to the Neerabup National Park and formalise the protection of Tamala Conservation Park and Ningana Bushland (now being dissected by the new rail to Yanchep)?’’

Environment, Disability Services and Electoral Affairs Minister Stephen Dawson at the community Cabinet in Joondalup.

The question should have been directed to Lands Minister Ben Wyatt but Mr Dawson promised to follow up her question.

Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren WA president Jan Standen asked Child Protection, Women’s Interests, Prevention of Domestic Violence and Community Services Minister Simone McGurk when there was going to be better support for grandparents raising their grandchildren.

She said the organisation had recently grown by 26 per cent and now had 108 families who cared for 168 grandchildren.

In August the government said grandcarers would be included among those to receive $500 for the first child in their care and $250 for each additional child in the household to help ease financial pressures experienced through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms McGurk said the state government was talking to the federal government on how to ease some bureaucracy or to get some Centrelink support for grandparents.

One resident asked Mr Dawson why there were no third-party appeal rights against Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) decisions in WA.

Mr Dawson said EPA third party appeal rights existed in the state.

Quinns Community Men’s Shed vice president Roger Davies said the group’s shed was only 9m by 6m.

Mr Davies said while the City of Wanneroo was supportive plans only doubled their size.

Premier Mark McGowan said the group could contact Lotterywest with an application for funding.

Tourism, Racing and Gaming, Small Business, Defence Issues, Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Paul Papalia said the Gaming and Community Trust grants program also supported men’s sheds.

City of Wanneroo councillor Vinh Nguyen told Regional Development, Agriculture and Food and Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan farmers were struggling to attract workers to pack fruit before it was sent to markets and asked if there would be a state-based visa program post Covid-19 to deal with the issue.

Ms MacTiernan said the government had identified a problem in March and had introduced Work and wander out yonder.

She said some workers from Vanuatu who had been working in Darwin were due in WA in the next week or two.

In the long term she said there needed to be more investment in labour-saving devices in the industry, which was tough work.

Other residents asked questions about drug education workshops in schools, what was being done to promote cricket to young girls, the end of the government’s scheme covering the cost of solar panels, the shortage of basketball facilities and the amount of services available for homeless people in the northern suburbs.