Dardanup councillors vote against Wellington National Park expansion

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Wellington National Park
Camera IconWellington National Park

Dardanup shire councillors have voted to formally reject State Government plans to expand Wellington National Park.

Councillors voted 5-3 in favour of giving a formal response.

Shire president Mick Bennett said economic considerations drove the decision.

“We were looking at the commercial side of things with regard to timber and other activities that can occur in State forest but not a national park,” he said.

“I think that’s about as simple as it gets.”

In a report provided prior to Wednesday’s meeting, council staff recommended the council either provided a formal response of conditional support or not formally comment.

Cr Bennett put forward a motion that the council should not support the expansion and also not provide a formal comment.

It was defeated 6-2 before Cr Peter Robinson put forward the successful resolution.

Cr Carmel Boyce voted against the resolutions along with Cr Patricia Perks and Cr Luke Davies.

She said she thought the officer’s report was thorough.

“The reason I voted against it was because the South West of WA is one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world,” she said.

“My other objection was that a lot of the jarrah gets taken out goes to Simcoa at greatly reduced price - I suppose it’s about the value you place on our forests.

“My view is that we don’t have to use the forest for them to have value - biodiversity is probably better off without us interrupting.”

Donnybrook-Balingup shire councillors voted in February to not support the expansion due to a lack of information.

Dardanup councillors previously deferred a decision due to a lack of information in January, but Cr Bennett was satisfied with presentations made between meetings.

“I would hope the State Government takes notice of our stance given it is in our shire and affects our community,” he said.

“We hope that we are not wasting our voice and I think that has been the case before when the plans for expansion were quite a bit bigger.

“I think it was an election commitment to have a look at it and that’s what they’ve been doing - I’m not sure where it will go from here but I hope they listen to us.”

The proposed expansion would see the park increase in area by more than 7000ha.

Public comment closed today.

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