Mr McGowan, Mandurah MLA David Templeman and Opposition environment spokesman Chris Tallentine launched WA Labor’s plan for the protection of the Peel-Harvey waterways at Len Howard Reserve on Friday.
The Peel-Harvey Catchment Management Bill 2014 will be introduced into Parliament as a private member’s bill.
Mr McGowan said the waterways were the lifeblood of the Peel region and underpinned the overall health and wellbeing of the region economically, socially and environmentally.
Mr McGowan said the 2013 Murdoch University and CSIRO report into the Peel-Harvey Estuary found the estuary was now returning to a highly eutrophied state and that the management structures were insufficient to halt the decline, let alone rehabilitate the system.
‘The critical point the study made was that stakeholders and the public lack an effective means of rehabilitating and managing the system due to ineffective governance structures or weakly implemented policies,” he said.
The draft Bill would create a new statutory body called the Peel-Harvey Catchment Trust with relevant powers and functions to oversee management of the catchment area and provide a new and integrated approvals process involving relevant councils, approval from the Minister or Trust and strict adherence to State Planning Policy No 21. It would also have the ability to issue estuary protection notices in the catchment area.