A message from the WA State Leader, Libby Mettam MLA

Power Outages
Tens of thousands of Western Australians were plunged into darkness across the Perth Hills, the Wheatbelt and Goldfields this past week, leading to tragic outcomes for many families and small businesses.

They were forced to suffer through heath wave conditions without power and, in some cases, without water because the Cook Labor Government failed to listen to the warning signs of its own experts.

For the past two years the Budget papers have included warnings to the Government that exactly this scenario would happen if it did not invest in the network infrastructure and in back-up capacity.

Those warnings have become reality and as a result, the reality for tens of thousands of Western Australians.

I met with business owners in Gidgegannup and Kalgoorlie with my colleagues Steve Thomas and Neil Thomson – the stories were heartbreaking.

It was David and Rattana’s opening week for their new restaurant in Gidgegannup, Gidge Thai Takeaway. With the power out, they were forced to throw out thousands of dollars’ worth of stock and close their doors to the community.

Steve from Everett’s Butchers in Kalgoorlie was forced to throw out 4 tons of meat, the equivalent of $100,000 worth of stock, due to the outages plaguing the Goldfields town.

Although we can’t hold the Cook Labor Government responsible for a storm, we can hold it responsible for better preparing and enhancing our electricity grid.

Environmental Defender’s Office
Roger Cook’s decision to continue funding the discredited protest group the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is indefensible.

A Federal Court judge last week demolished the evidence of the EDO in its court bid to stop a $5.8 billion government-approved Santos gas project in the Timor Sea.

High Court Justice Natalie Charlesworth said the EDO’s case against the project relied on contradictory and made-up evidence.

The Cook and Albanese governments contribute millions of dollars to the activist body and cannot in any conscience continue to provide this taxpayer support in the face of the scathing criticism.

It is extraordinary in the first place that taxpayer funds are used to pay for an activist organisation to challenge government decisions in the courts, but to continue that funding considering the finding in the Santos case is astounding.

The Cook and Albanese Governments cannot credibly claim to be champions of economic development and the resources sector when they are trying to keep the activist green lobby on side with big cash handouts.

It shows neither government has the courage of their convictions; they should be backing in their decisions, not funding vexatious legal action against them.

The finding in the Santos case perfectly highlights the potential for government-funded protest organisations to be weaponised for political purposes.

The need for strong, effective regulatory oversight is essential. Projects must have social licence and efficient regulation supports this. But activism, vexatious legal action and over regulation deliver no positive environmental benefits.

Midland Hospital
More than 50 desperate St John of God Midland Hospital clinicians have written an open letter stating they are being forced to consider extreme measures like bunking hospital beds to meet out-of-control demand.

The letter claimed that the Cook government has consistently failed them and that they have been asking for additional resources for years and have sent repeated requests for a larger ED and more wards.

Astoundingly, Midland hospital was approaching a month of being on code yellow, meaning the 307-bed facility was at capacity due to no beds being available. This has resulted in patients being left in corridors and ramped in ambulances with the average transfer of care from St John WA paramedics to the hospital being at least double the recommended 30-minute maximum.

When the Midland hospital was under construction, WA Health estimated it would see an average 60,000 presentations to ED each year. However, the hospital saw 66,700 people in its first year and 77,725 presenting at the ED in 2022-23.

The clinicians are desperate and exhausted, working tirelessly to help others while at the same time remaining concerned that the ticking time bomb they find themselves working in will result in another incident similar to the tragic death of 7-year-old Aishwarya Aswath.

Our committed frontline healthcare workers have consistently been asked to do more with less and the Cook Government continues to come up short on how they will address these ongoing issues.

The purchase of private beds from St John to make up the shortfall was also political spin as waiting for 60 beds to become available in 2026 would not address the dire circumstances now.

There’s been a complete one-eyed focus on budget surpluses from this government without proper planning for future needs that has left the health system on its knees.

Libby Mettam
WA Liberal Leader