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Western rock lobster topples blue swimmer crabs in fishing survey4121Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml5/04/2020 12:12:43 AM2020-04-05T00:00:00Z Survey shows rock lobster is now the most-caught species by recreational fishers Knowing what is caught by all sectors is vital in developing management strategies Recfishing contributes $2.4 billion annually to WA's economyUntil now, Western Australia's regular comprehensive survey on what recreational fishers are catching around the State has revealed the blue swimmer crab as king. But the results of the latest research reveals that another crustacean has taken the crown - the western rock lobster. The WA Recreational Boat Fishing Survey is produced every two years and the latest 12 months of data, taken from 2017-18, reveals that an estimated 695,000 western rock lobsters were caught by boat fishers - making it WA's most-caught species for recfishers. Researchers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) also found that an estimated 667,000 blue swimmer crabs were caught, making it the second most popular species for boat-based fishers. The rise of rock lobsters in the survey's findings follows a series of good recruitment years and effective resource management by DPIRD, in partnership with the commercial and recfishing sectors. This in turn has led to an abundance of rock lobsters and greater participation by recfishers who are now able to fish for lobster all year round. School whiting was the most popular finfish (259,000), followed by Australian herring (121,000) and pink snapper (116,000). The survey is based on State-wide data and shows most boat fishing is done in the West Coast Bioregion, between Augusta and Kalbarri. These updates on what recreational fishers catch, along with the annual commercial and charter fishing catches, is an important tool in developing effective management strategies for the resources' sustainability. For more on the latest Recreational Boat Fishing Survey, which also has details of what's released by recfishers, see the Catch! facts summary at http//www.fish.wa.gov.au/ Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley "This fishing survey captured more than 1.15 million boat fishing hours and clearly demonstrates that recreational fishing is a huge part of the WA lifestyle. "Funds raised through recreational licence fees are ploughed back into the sector to help improve recreational fishing. "For example, more than 135,000 boat fishing licences were issued in 2017-18. Funding for this survey was sourced from recreational licence fees. "In these challenging times it is important to remember that WA supports a variety of world class fishing opportunities, which are made possible through comprehensive research and management programs. "COVID-19 restrictions require Western Australians to not undertake non-essential travel - this includes recreational fishing trips. "Fishing locally where you live can be enjoyed, provided participants observe the social distancing protocol of keeping a minimum 1.5 metres apart, which is one of the important measures to keep the community safe. "When we come out the other side of COVID-19, I'm sure many people will be looking forward to once again returning to many regional locations and wetting a line and spending time with family and friends." Minister's office - 6552 5300
McGowan Government launches energy roadmap4068Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements7520html4/04/2020 12:13:40 AM2020-04-03T22:00:00Z McGowan Government releases Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap Australian-first Roadmap includes a five-year plan to better integrate DEREnergy Minister Bill Johnston today released the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, produced by the McGowan Government's Energy Transformation Taskforce. Rooftop solar panels, batteries, electric vehicles and microgrids are transforming Western Australia's electricity system. These small-scale devices, known as Distributed Energy Resources (DER), present challenges and opportunities for the way we produce, manage and consume electricity in our State. Almost one in three households in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) have rooftop solar, and this is expected to reach one in two over the next decade. The Roadmap outlines the actions we must take over the next five years in order to meet these challenges and harness the potential for cleaner, more affordable energy. Its work is essential to ensure Western Australians can continue to install and enjoy the benefits of rooftop solar and new energy technologies. Actions will include pilots to determine the best ways to overcome technical, regulatory and market barriers to integrate DER into our grid, including additional community batteries. Energy Policy WA, Western Power, Horizon Power, Synergy and the Australian Energy Market Operator are working together to implement this Roadmap. Alongside the delivery of the Roadmap, the State Government is working with the energy sector to carefully monitor any impacts COVID-19 is having on the power system. For more information, visit http//brighterenergyfuture.wa.gov.au Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston "The McGowan Government is on the front foot, looking at how we can improve our power system and continue to make the most of solar energy. "The actions in the Roadmap will allow us to keep feeding more renewable energy into the grid for the benefit of all Western Australians. It is a robust plan for a brighter energy future. "Building a responsive and resilient power system will allow us to successfully manage risks over time - COVID-19 is a timely reminder of the importance of this." Comments attributed to Energy Transformation Taskforce chairperson Stephen Edwell "A major transformation of Western Australia's electricity sector is underway. "Rooftop solar is a great source of power, but changes are needed to ensure that it helps, rather than hinders the operation of our energy supply system. "Households and businesses can help make the most of our abundant solar generation by moving some of their electricity use from the evening to the middle of the day." Minister's office - 6552 6700
Planning changes support COVID-19 response and recovery4067Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements21740html3/04/2020 6:45:38 AM2020-04-03T06:45:00Z New regulations for local planning scheme provisions in State of Emergency State and local government collaborate to support essential community need State Government provides flexibility in public sector to support COVID-19 response and recovery Changes to planning and development regulations came into effect today, which provide for the continuation of essential public services in a State of Emergency. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the McGowan Government has been working to identify legislative and regulatory measures that would better support urgent decision making and ensure the Government has the flexibility to best serve the Western Australian community. Amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 provide the Minister for Planning with authority to temporarily override requirements and conditions set out in a local planning scheme, and existing conditions in planning approvals. This could include exemptions relating to noise or amenity restrictions that guide supermarket deliveries, waste and recycling services and construction activities, and take-away and retail delivery services among other locally driven compliance requirements. Under the amendments, the Minister for Planning can issue a notice to suppress local scheme provisions for a single council, across a specific region or across the State. The regulations also provide for streamlined advertising and decision-making processes. In this COVID-19 crisis, where strict social distancing protocols are enforced, this provides for digital access to plans and safer means of public inspection rather than inviting community members to venture away from home and visit physical buildings. A State of Emergency must be declared for these new regulatory provisions to have effect. The Minister thanked the Western Australian Local Government Association and all local councils for their collaboration and responsiveness to bring these regulatory changes into reality and across all COVID-19 response matters in recent weeks. Comments attributed to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti "These are unprecedented times and the McGowan Government has been working to identify extraordinary measures that can support urgent decision making, and ensure we can appropriately provide and care for the Western Australian community. "In a State of Emergency, these regulatory changes will provide the Government with an important mechanism to safeguard the supply of essential goods and services, help maintain civil order and lessen the administrative requirement for local councils in favour of direct frontline support in their communities. "We have seen in recent weeks the community response to this health crisis and its impact on our key services - and we have mobilised quickly to accommodate the increase in demand. "We need to keep the trucks rolling and the shutters open, and while there might be some short-term inconvenience, we need greater flexibility, speed and a higher degree of co-ordination around our planning regulations to prioritise these services, at this time. "These powers would provide for a higher order of community service in the face of an emergency and are not about circumventing public input in our planning processes. "All Western Australians benefit from strong collaboration between State and local government, and this is a good example of introducing greater flexibility in our planning system when and where it is warranted. "I am pleased to have the support of the WA Local Government Association and all local councils in bringing these regulatory changes to fruition." Minister's office - 6552 5500
Indigenous entrepreneur wins 2020 WA Rural Women’s Award4066Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements9540html3/04/2020 4:15:51 AM2020-04-03T04:15:00Z Broome-based innovator Cara Peek wins 2020 WA Rural Women's Award Awards acknowledge and support the vital contribution women make to rural industries, businesses and communities Broome-based lawyer, entrepreneur and social innovator, Cara Peek has won the 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award. The McGowan Government supports the awards which acknowledge and support the vital contributions of women to rural industries, businesses and communities around the State. Ms Peek is a Yawuru/Bunubu woman driving opportunities for rural and remote people to empower the Aboriginal community. She will invest her $10,000 business development award in progressing the Saltwater Academy, which celebrates the heritage of the Kimberley Aboriginal pastoral industry and provides related emotional, economic and cultural initiatives, including training and employment opportunities. Ms Peek won from a strong field of five finalists also including Albany farmer and agricultural economist Lucy Anderton who designed the FARMSMART® farm business analysis tool; Kalannie Community Resource Centre co-manager Jo Ashworth whose Growing Kalannie Project provides community members access to traineeships and apprenticeships; Broome's Lauren Bell who founded an insect farming start-up for the sustainable management of organic waste; and Mukinbudin-raised Kendall Whyte whose Blue Tree Project sparks important conversations around mental health. While an awards ceremony could not go ahead this year due to social distancing requirements, this year's Rural Women's Award was announced in a special broadcast on ABC's Country Hour. Ms Peek follows in the footsteps of 2019 award winner Belinda Lay, an Esperance sheep and grain farmer who demonstrated an innovative use of specially designed collars for monitoring sheep health. She will now represent Western Australia at the national AgriFutures Rural Women's Award. The 2020 WA AgriFutures Rural Women's Award is supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Westpac, CBH Group and the Rural, Regional and Remote Women's Network of Western Australia. Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan "We could not be more pleased that Cara has won the Rural Women's Award in recognition of her creative work to celebrate and enhance the rich Aboriginal heritage of the Kimberley pastoral industry. "Cara is an extraordinary character who brings a fresh approach to creating change and opportunity for the Kimberley Aboriginal community. "All of the 2020 finalists have made and continue to make important contributions to the economic and social development of WA's rural and regional communities. "The recognition and professional opportunities the awards provide these women will empower them to continue to lead and inspire future generations of Western Australian rural women." Minister's office - 6552 6200 ​
New COVID-19 support team to help WA tourism industry4065Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements16870html3/04/2020 2:00:17 AM2020-04-03T02:00:00Z New Industry Support Team to offer support and information for WA tourism operators during COVID-19 pandemic State Government initiative through Tourism WA in collaboration with industry partners New team will call thousands of WA tourism operators to check how they are faring A special team has been established at Tourism Western Australia to offer support to members of the tourism industry during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Industry Support Team was developed with key industry partners and will offer support and information to WA tourism industry operators from people who understand the tourism industry. The new team includes members of Tourism WA's stakeholder relations, public relations, markets, and destination development groups. From next Monday, the support team will begin calling thousands of Western Australian tourism operators to check how they are coping, help them navigate the various State and Federal assistance packages, and offer a friendly voice to talk through recovery ideas for when the time is right. These conversations will allow the State Government, through Tourism WA, to be informed of existing or emerging issues that may help guide possible future support or recovery initiatives. Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia "We know tourism operators are doing it tough at the moment, so we want them to know we're here for them. "The aim of this tourism Industry Support Team is to provide a friendly point of contact to industry from people who understand tourism. "The team members will be there to listen as well as help where they can with the challenges that our tourism operators are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. "The new team will also provide an opportunity for industry to provide feedback on how they are dealing with this pandemic. "Our aim is to work closely together with tourism industry operators through this challenging time to try to ensure the recovery phase goes as well as possible." Minister's office - 6552 5600
Attorney General pays tribute to former Chief Judge of Family Court4064Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements9790html3/04/2020 1:25:18 AM2020-04-03T01:25:00Z Former Chief Judge of the Family Court of Western Australia, Stephen Thackray has passed away Mr Thackray served the WA community as a judicial officer for 22 years Attorney General John Quigley has paid tribute to the former Chief Judge of the Family Court of Western Australia, Stephen Thackray who passed away unexpectedly this week aged 65. Mr Thackray was highly regarded by the judiciary and the legal professions for his vast experience in the area of family law. He graduated from The University of Western Australia with an honours degree in Law in 1977. After completing articles he joined Paterson and Dowding where he became a partner in 1981, practicing principally in family law. In 1992 Mr Thackray became one of the first accredited Family Law specialists in WA, achieving the highest marks in that intake. He was president of the Family Law Practitioners Association from 1994 to 1995. In 1997 he was appointed as Principal Registrar of the Family Court of WA and served as an acting judge with the court in 1999 and in 2003 before accepting a permanent appointment to the court in 2004. Mr Thackray took up his position as Chief Judge of the Family Court of Western Australia in 2007 before retiring in January 2019. Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley "I am saddened to hear of the death of Stephen Thackray. "He made an outstanding contribution to the Western Australian community in his 22 years of service as a judicial officer, for which we owe him a debt of gratitude. "Stephen Thackray led the development of family law jurisprudence throughout Australia to an extent matched by very few in the history of the Family Court. "He took on some of the most difficult cases ever to come before the court, and was universally respected for his open-mindedness, empathy and wisdom. "I offer my condolences and those of the WA Government to his wife Janet and children." Attorney General's office - 6552 6800
Charity begins at home with much needed support going to worthwhile causes4063Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements8940html3/04/2020 1:00:50 AM2020-04-03T01:00:00Z ​Optus Stadium donates more than $70,000 in food and beverages The State Government is committed to supporting local charities RAC Arena continues to support Salvation Army by donating supplies The State Government has announced Optus Stadium will donate more than $70,000 worth of food and beverages to OzHarvest to help those most in need during the COVID-19 crisis. OzHarvest is Australia's leading food rescue organisation, delivering more than 100 tonnes of quality excess food each month to more than 90 charitable agencies across Western Australia. Today, Optus Stadium has donated items such as orange juice, coffee, tea, water, soft drink, chips, nuts and condiments that would have otherwise gone unused due to the suspension of the AFL season. OzHarvest estimates food donated by Optus Stadium last year equated to 128,000 meals. RAC Arena has also recently donated 750 sandwiches, wraps and sushi packs, 40 kilograms of fruit, 100 kilograms of vegetables and 30 litres of milk to their community partner the Salvation Army after the Perth Wildcats NBL grand final series was cut short. Optus Stadium and RAC Arena on behalf of the State Government will continue to support these charity groups at a time when many Western Australians are in vulnerable situations. If you are a commercial business with a surplus of food please consider donating to such charities as OzHarvest and The Salvation Army Comments attributed to Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray "It is so important for the State Government to continue its commitment to helping the most vulnerable in the community. I'm proud to see Optus Stadium working directly with such charities to provide healthy food for many West Australians who are struggling. "The impact of community partnerships such as this have many benefits. They provide essential food items for people for those in need and also excellent exposure for vital charitable organisations such as OzHarvest." Minister's office - 6552 6400
Temporary border closure to better protect Western Australians3933Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements45700html3/04/2020 12:06:08 AM2020-04-02T10:05:00Z McGowan Government closes WA from the rest of the country to safeguard Western Australians from COVID-19 Unprecedented measures to further restrict imported cases of COVID-19 Temporary border closure to commence at midnight or 11.59pm, on Sunday nightThe McGowan Government has taken the extraordinary, but necessary step to place a hard border closure on the State of Western Australia, to further protect the community from the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the best medical advice, effective from midnight, or 11.59pm, on Sunday, April 5, people will no longer be able to enter Western Australia without an exemption. Unprecedented regional boundaries and tough measures have already been introduced to restrict movement and social interaction in Western Australia, but this closure will help WA further combat the COVID-19 crisis. Exemptions are currently being finalised, and will include people who perform work functions, like health services; emergency service workers; transport, freight and logistics; specialist skills, not available in WA; national or State security and governance; and courts and judicial services. There will also be exemptions for FIFO workers and their families, however strict 14-day self-isolation measures will need to be followed when they first enter the State. Further exemptions will also be permitted based on specific compassionate grounds. Additional information will be released soon. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "We are living in extraordinary times, it's something we have all never experienced before. "These new harder border closures essentially mean we will be turning Western Australia into its own island, within an island - our own country. "These are drastic steps, but also sensible and workable. "A number of specific exemptions will be implemented to ensure our State can continue to operate and function. We need to keep our State working. "I want the message to be absolutely clear to any Western Australian over east who is thinking of coming to WA. If you need to get home to WA - come home now. "If you are an eastern-stater, and thinking about visiting WA - forget about it. "While we are this State of Emergency, we need you to stay where you are. "The quicker we can get through this, the sooner we can get back to normal. "If we follow the advice, abide by the new rules and practice good social distancing, we can take a different direction to the rest of the country and the rest of the world for that matter. "Western Australia is in a unique position. Our isolation is now our best defence. We need to use it to the best of our advantage." Premier's office - 6552 5000
New laws to protect family violence victims during COVID-19 pandemic3932Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements19330html3/04/2020 12:00:51 AM2020-04-02T09:35:00Z Current crisis creates heightened risk for victims of family and domestic violence Perpetrators of family violence are using the virus as a method to control and coerce victims New laws will bolster justice system preparedness and response to the spread of COVID-19 These laws will help victims across Western AustraliaThe McGowan Government has moved swiftly to bring into force important laws to protect victims of family and domestic violence, who are at an increased risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Urgent amendments to the Sentencing Act 1995, the Sentence Administration Act 2003, the Bail Act 1982 and the Restraining Orders Act 1997 passed through both Houses of State Parliament today. The changes include allowing the court to impose a requirement that an offender be subject to electronic monitoring under Conditional Suspended Imprisonment Orders and Intensive Supervision Orders; permitting a judicial officer to include, as a home detention bail condition, a direction that an accused be subject to electronic monitoring; improving access to restraining orders, including enabling restraining order applications to be lodged online; creating a separate offence for breach of a family violence restraining order, increasing the penalty to $10,000 from $6,000 and extending the limitation period for prosecuting breach of restraining order offences to two years; and allowing the Family Court and Children's Court to issue interim restraining orders on an ex-parte basis, in the same way the Magistrates Court is permitted to do so.These important reforms will enable the justice system to better respond to the challenges facing victims of family violence during the COVID-19 crisis. Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley "The State Government recognises that the current crisis creates a situation of heightened risk for victims of family and domestic violence, and that's why we've moved swiftly to pass urgent legislative reforms to respond to the situation. "The pandemic is likely to have implications on the capacity of our justice system, for example, employing its normal in-person and manual methods of operation such as lodging of restraining order applications. "These important reforms will enable us to better respond to the challenges faced by the justice system and the risk to victims of family violence in the context of this pandemic." Comments attributed to Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk "We know that people experiencing family and domestic violence are at increased risk when they are isolated from family and the community, and are unable to leave or put other protective measures in place. "Regrettably, we have seen reports from overseas and other States that warn not only are victims at increased risk of family violence during this pandemic, but perpetrators are using the virus as a method to control and coerce victims. "In difficult times, stress can in some cases result in people behaving in unacceptable ways. However, no matter what is going on in the world, violence is never acceptable. "I want to thank all sides of politics for coming together to pass these urgent reforms and show victims of family and domestic violence that they are not alone - particularly during these exceptionally challenging times." Attorney General's office - 6552 6800Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister's office - 6552 6600
Stronger restrictions in place to protect Kimberley residents from COVID-193747Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements31600html2/04/2020 8:31:24 AM2020-04-02T08:30:00Z New Kimberley travel restrictions from midnight tonight (11.59pm Thursday) New boundaries in place, in line with the four local government boundaries Kimberley residents urged to stay within their boundary, and all non-essential travel should be avoided Nursing team sent to Broome Hospital to assist with COVID-19 response The McGowan Government has announced new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 to the Kimberley region. The new measures follow confirmation of a number of positive COVID-19 cases in the region this week. All confirmed cases are currently self-isolating with contact tracing underway to determine the source of the infection, and to identify and isolate close contacts, as per the national guidelines. Travel restrictions are already in place in the Kimberley region but due to the seriousness of the situation, additional stronger measures are needed to stop the movement of people between towns or local government areas. From midnight tonight (or 11.59pm Thursday), new boundaries, in line with the four local government areas (shires of Broome, Derby West Kimberley, Wyndham East Kimberley, Halls Creek) within the Kimberley region will be in place. People must stay in their local government area. The existing exemptions apply, such as provision of essential services or supplies, freight, medical reasons or compassionate grounds. Currently, residents returning to their home in the Kimberley must self-isolate for 14 days. The State Government has sent a nursing team to Broome Hospital to assist staff on the ground with the response. Additional support will be sent to Broome soon. All healthcare services operated by the WA Country Health Service in the Kimberley are still operational and serving local communities. Kimberley residents are urged to stay home and cease all non-essential travel and activity. Indoor or outdoor activities of more than two people should be avoided, unless exempted. Anyone displaying symptoms should contact their local health facility immediately. For more information on social distancing measures, visit http//www.wa.gov.au Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "The situation unfolding in the Kimberley is extremely serious, and we need to implement drastic measures to protect the community. "We cannot take any chances here. Kimberley residents living in remote Aboriginal communities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and they need to be protected. "It is vital that all Kimberley residents heed this advice and stay in their home, and within their regional boundary, unless there is a genuine reason to leave. "We are following the best medical advice and the State Government is working around the clock to protect the community. "I want to thank the local Aboriginal organisations, health care workers and local service providers for the work they are doing throughout the region. "We will get through this, but it's vital that all members of the community do the right thing." Premier's office - 6552 5000