Party to tap coast campaign

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times

An east-coast community-focused political party will use the Preserve Gnarabup campaign as part of its drive to contest seats in the South West at next year’s WA election.

Sustainable Australia Party president William Bourke said the five-star resort proposed for the Gnarabup coast was a prime example of WA’s “top-down” planning approvals process that did not reflect the sentiments of individual communities.

The party has freshly completed a recruitment drive for members, will register with the WA Electoral Commission at the end of the month, and was preselecting candidates now for the South West’s Upper House.

Lower House candidates would be sought to contest electorates such as Vasse and Warren-Blackwood in coming months.

“We’ve got people right around the South West,” Mr Bourke said.

“Being a minor party with limited resources, we are just focusing on the process.

“We regard ourselves as an independent community party on the centre of politics.”

Mr Bourke said the Gnarabup proposal was a “key issue” for the party’s environmental and planning concerns.

“We’re trying to reform the planning system and we are protesting the top-down, developer-led system in WA.”

Preserve Gnarabup was born earlier this year amid news developer Luke Saraceni and partners had bought the long-stymied Gnarabup Beach Estate parcels, with plans for a Westin Margaret River resort as well as mixed-use apartments and holiday villas, shops and a restaurant on adjacent land.

Spokeswoman Jess Gleeson said there was no affiliation with Sustainable Australia.

“We are a community-based campaign with no political affiliations with any particular party,” she said.

“We believe Sustainable Australia’s comments on Gnarabup reflect the view of many Australians — that the Gnarabup headland shouldn’t be developed. But Sustainable Australia’s comments are not associated with our campaign.”

The Gnarabup proposal was included in Sustainable Australia’s advertising material during the recent member drive.

Developer Luke Saraceni said he believed in the democratic right to campaign on political grounds.

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