River plan attacked

Southern River MLA Chris Tallentire. Picture: Marcelo Palacios www.communitypix.com.au d421978
Southern River MLA Chris Tallentire. Picture: Marcelo Palacios www.communitypix.com.au d421978

Amendments to law that are before Parliament will mean the Trust, which manages the Swan, Canning, Helena and Southern rivers and riverbanks, will amalgamate with the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Mr Tallentire said Trust staff would then only be able to make politically on-message public statements, whereas before they had the right to put out advice independent of the minister of the day.

‘The Government is ensuring it has control over what the Swan River Trust says,’ he said

Mr Tallentire said the move would stop the Trust giving its opinions to the public about the consequences of activities, such as dredging for Elizabeth Quay.

‘Whenever we look at an estuary or river system around Australia that is under stress, or at similar systems around the world, scientists and policymakers always recommend integrated catchment management,’ he said.

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said while Trust staff would become part of the department, the Trust’s board would remain.

The board would have the same ability to make public comments as it always had, though its main function had always been, and would continue to be, reporting to the minister of the day.

‘Communications will operate in similar manner to current arrangements’