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Welcome to My Community Update Newsletter

Don Punch MLA, Member for Bunbury


We have endured some pretty difficult times over recent months, and the outbreaks of COVID-19 that Victoria is currently dealing with show we are not out of the woods yet and we all need to stay vigilant, but we also need to be positive and look to the future.
 
The McGowan Government is doing just that, launching an economic recovery plan for the State. $5.5billion is being invested to create a pipeline of jobs and to improve the infrastructure our communities rely on.
 
Already we can see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Our success as a community in combating the spread of the virus means we were able to open our economy back up sooner and start on the road to rebuilding our economy.
 
We are making inroads. During question time on 13 August the Premier reported, “Western Australia recorded the strongest employment growth of all mainland states and territories in July. Nearly 20 000 Western Australians found work in July. We recovered more than 41 000 jobs lost since the start of the pandemic”.
 
As we implement the recovery plan, there will be more jobs and more opportunities. If we keep working together, supporting each other and stay disciplined about social distancing, the future is very bright for WA.

Government Comes to Bunbury

 
It has been a pleasure to host a number of Ministers in Bunbury over the past month or so and I am looking forward to further visits in the next few weeks.

Minister Murray announced $5million of funding to support the redevelopment of South West Football League facilities at Hands Oval. When complete, this project will make sure womens’ changerooms are available at our premier footy oval and that all the facilities are of a standard that will attract matches of the highest calibre, including AFL matches.
 
Minister Cook visited Bunbury Regional Hospital and announced a further $38million for its redevelopment. From improved emergency room and mental health facilities to an additional surgical theatre, more hospital in the home services and an additional 215 parking bays, the works at the hospital will expand its capacity to service our community now and for years to come.
 
I also hosted Minister Tinley who visited Bunbury to celebrate awarding of the first contract under the $319million Social Housing Economic Recovery package to a Bunbury based manufacturing business, Bunbury Glass Service. Maintenance work being performed on public housing and our schools is providing a steady stream of work for local tradies.
 
All of these visits have been to announce Recovery initiatives for our community. They will all create opportunities for local businesses, create local jobs and deliver much need new facilities for Bunbury and the surrounding area.

What's Coming Up

On Tuesday 25 August beginning at 4pm at the Stirling Street Arts Centre I will be hosting an Education Forum with Special Guest, the Minister for Education and Training, Hon. Sue Ellery MLC. This is a great opportunity for teachers, students, parents and trainers to come along, hear from the Minister, ask any questions you may have and join in a community conversation about the future of education in our community.
 
With the weather on the improve, I am starting up my mobile offices again. I will be at Tim Shaw Park on White Street in East Bunbury from 10am on Saturday 5 September. If you would like to catch up with me for a chat, come along. There is no need to RSVP and everyone is welcome.
 
Finally, I am running a survey. Recently I have heard from Local Governments about the priority projects they would like the State Government to support in the coming years. The State and Local Governments have long worked together to achieve outcomes for our community which raises the question, what are the expectations of the community about the projects that should be undertaken by their local government.
 
I would really appreciate hearing your views on what you most want your Shire or Council to be doing for you as this should be an important factor for the State Government when deciding what local projects should be supported. Please take a couple of minutes to complete the survey at this link - https://proudlybunbury.com.au/surveys/community-survey-local-government.

If you provide your name and contact details I will be able to provide you direct feedback about your ideas and what might be possible.

Parliamentary Update

This month we went back to Parliament after the winter recess. I was expecting a very busy couple of sitting weeks but hadn’t anticipated Clive Palmer. We considered and passed urgent legislation to prevent Mr Palmer’s attempts to pursue damages for a historic claim related to one of his mining projects. The Premier and the Government acted swiftly to protect WA.
 
We also considered the COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Omnibus Bill 2020 which, amongst other things, made provision to waive, vary or refund a range of fees and charges to help people manage the financial impacts of the pandemic.
 
There was quite a substantial legislative agenda which also included the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 to further protect workers in WA and the Electoral Amendment Bill 2020 to make political donations and the funding of political campaigns in WA fairer and more transparent.
 
As a member of the Community Development and Justice Standing Committee, I was pleased to see the tabling of the report of our recent inquiry into the handling of family and domestic violence matters by the courts. The report “Opening Doors to Justice: Supporting Victims by Improving the Management of Family and Domestic Violence Matters in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia” makes it clear that despite the McGowan Government making huge steps forward in combatting DV, there is still more work to be done to protect vulnerable people, especially women and children.
 
I finished the two weeks of sitting by delivering a grievance to the Minister for Planning, Hon Rita Saffioti MLA, about the need for improvements in Glen Iris especially to allow for the development of a commercial centre for the suburb and to alleviate the many traffic issues in the area. Minister Saffioti has always shown a strong interest in Glen Iris and made a commitment during her reply to me in the Parliament to continue to find ways to improve Glen Iris and overcome the problems the community experiences.

There is a consultation meeting in Glen Iris on Monday 24 August beginning at 6.30pm at the Picton Primary School. I encourage everyone in the Glen Iris community to attend, as with the Minister’s commitment to the suburb I expect there to be support for community driven solutions.

In the Community

 
With restrictions easing I have been able to spend a lot of time out in the Bunbury community again. I have attended the launch of the new amenities and noticeboard at Des Ugle Park, celebrated World Scouts’ Day, attended the Bunbury Dying to Know event and toured the Activ Foundation’s local facilities.

I ran a series of three town hall meetings to hear what people think the priorities should be for our community in the recovery phase. We had some very interesting discussions. It was heartening to hear how important it is to people that we maintain community connections and support each other. In the coming weeks I will be sharing the community priorities that have come from all of the meetings and catch ups I have held since the pandemic began.
 
In recognition of National School Tree Planting Day I took some bush tucker plants out to Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School. The Leschenault Community Nursery were able to provide a really wide range of edible native plants that were perfect for the Djidi Djidi garden. As I was at the school on 7 August I was also able thank Principal Sam Goodlad and acknowledge Australian Primary Principals’ Day.
      
 
Hopefully, the weather will start to improve as we move into spring and I will have the opportunity to get out and about even more.

Don
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