In the world of degrowth, the focus is often centred on the need for broad scale system change. However, it is often at the grassroots community level that real resistance against overdevelopment is truly and tangibly observed. For this very special episode of PGAP, we interview Annabel Paulley (Friends of Yakamia), Chris Poulton (Rethink Eastlink) and Andrew St John (Safe and Scenic Toodyay Roads) to highlight the good work been done by community groups in South-Western Australia to fight the relentless tide of overdevelopment.
Our first guest Annabel Paulley (interviewed 00:08:19 to 00:37:09) is a coordinator and key member of the Albany based Friends of Yakamia Forest. The Friends of Yakamia have been working tirelessly to protect the titular rate payer land from being rezoned for housing and road development. The land is a fragment of the forest that once covered the northern suburbs of Albany and is home to a host of endemic and threatened plants, bird and animal species. You can find out more about Friends of Yakamia at their Facebook page here.
(Friends of Yakamia visiting state MP for Albany, Rebecca Stephens)
Our second guest Chris Poulton ( interviewed 00:37:23 to 01:09:16) runs Summer Creek Restaurant and Brewery with his family Bakers Hill, nestled in eastern side of the Perth Hills. The property and nearby Kep track have significant historical importance to Western Australia’s formative history, that will be undermined if the Eastlink highway project is passed. Find out more about Rethink Eastlink here. You may also wish to check out the great work from the Save Perth Hills Action Group.
Our third guest Dr Andrew St John (interviewed 01:09:32 to 01:23:54) is convenor of Safe and Scenic Toodyay Roads. Toodyay lies on the transition between the Perth Hills and the Wheatbelt. The impact to lifestyle, legacy and the natural environment of the local scarp ecosystem is threatened by Main Roads WA and other developments (including mining and housing development).
(Andrew St John)
One major focus of this episode is to explore the interrelationship between the great work done at the grassroots by community action groups and the broader issue of wider system change being championed by many activists including degrowth advocates. The South-West of Western Australia is not the only region in the world in which brave citizens are defending their natural and cultural environments from the march of development, progress and concrete. Similar fights are occurring everywhere, globally, all the time. All three guests share a unique vision of their solutions to this worldwide predicament, although all are united with the view that there needs to be fundamental end to the current growth based system. Otherwise, it will be up to community groups to be perpetually putting out the spot fires.
Host Michael Bayliss is joined by Mark Allen, co-host and founder of Town Planning Rebellion, during the intro and outro. We gain his perspective on how TPR can work with local action groups to bring critical change to Australia’s broken urban planning sector. We also discuss how to have a nuanced debate on some of the thornier issues such as urban consolidation vs. urban sprawl, and visible (but seldom discussed) impacts of population growth.
You can find out more about host Michael Bayliss at his website here and more about Mark Allen at the Holistic Activism website. Please support PGAP by sharing this and other episodes with your networks. Do you have feedback or suggestions for future episodes? You can contact us here.
We'd like to leave you with some images of Chris Poulton's property at Bakers Hill, WA, followed by a timestamp of the episode.
Old winery established in 1884 by Edward Keane with 3x 136 year old Moreton bay fig trees on the right.
Looking up from the restaurant at the hill that would be turned in to a freeway (top 3rd of the picture).
White tailed Black Cockatoos spend over 3 months of the year feeding and socialising in area deemed for eastlink freeway. Community building and socialising areas are important for Black cockatoos and not something mainroads is acknowledging in their environmental assessment / report.
Episode time stamp
Introduction with Mark Allen: 00:00:00 to 00:08:04
Annabel Paully (Friends of Yakamia): 00:08:19 to 00:37:09
Chris Poulton (Summer Creek Brewery, Rethink Eastlink): 00:37:23 to 01:09:16
Andrew St John (Safe and Scenic Toodyay Roads): 01:09:32 to 01:23:54
Outro with Mark Allen (Town Planning Rebellion): 01:24:10 to 01:34:20
All expressed views and legacies - past and present - of PGAP guests are their own and do not necesarilly reflect the views and legacies of Post-Growth Australia Podcast, or Sustainable Population Podcast, who support this podcast.