Ski dispute in Parliament

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Greens MLC Dianne Evers with the petition.
Camera IconGreens MLC Dianne Evers with the petition. Credit: Diane Evers

A decision to allow waterskiers to use Lake Mullocullup has come under renewed fire after Greens MLC Diane Evers took the fight to reverse the ruling to State Parliament.

After years of debate between farmers and indigenous heritage activists, the Department of Transport officially allowed waterskiing in the lake in March this year.

Ms Evers said the “inappropriate” decision surprised her as not only was the lake registered as an Aboriginal heritage site, it was also one of the few remaining freshwater lakes in the area.

On Tuesday, she tabled a 417-signature petition from the local community.

“More than 400 people including many indigenous residents, have signed this petition calling on the McGowan Government to rescind the Department of Transport’s inappropriate gazettal,” she said.

“The City of Albany’s earlier consultation on what was essentially an illegal activity — normalised by 35 years of turning a blind eye — was described as deficient by an independent consultant.

“It has been left up to the community to make itself heard, which is why I am taking their voice to Parliament.”

The debate over allowing motorised boats on the lake has been ongoing since at least 2015, with local indigenous groups demanding its protection as a heritage site and farmers arguing its important role as a community hangout.

In October last year, the Albany council voted 9-3 in support of notifying the Department of Transport to officially permit boat use on the water.

This week, Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said there had long been divided opinion about the use of the lake, but the City had already settled on its decision.

“The Department of Transport had a look at it and everyone had a look at it and the decision has been made,” he said.

“People have been skiing on that lake for more than 30 years and they said the lake is in pristine condition but now they’re saying that waterskiing will hurt the lake. I just don’t understand that.

“I think she’s just bringing up old ground.

“It’s something that we have discussed and covered before and the decision has been made. We should get on with it.”

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