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Ward off Climate Change

About the author

Gary Warden was raised in the Perth Hills. After graduating from the University of Western Australia with a degree in Geology, Gary joined BHP Billiton where he spent 18 years working in a variety of roles in a number of locations around the world. Prior to leaving BHP Billiton in December 2006, Gary was Global Manager for the company's US$1Billion business improvement program.

While he was originally sceptical about the claims relating to climate change, he became convinced of the urgency of the issue in early 2006. He left BHP Billiton primarily to spend more time with his young family, but also to dedicate himself to creating a more sustainable life for himself and his family and to support others in making that change.

In September 2007 he was trained by Al Gore and has delivered the "Inconvenient Truth" lectures to thousands of west australians since then. In November 2007 Gary ran for the senate in the Federal Election representing the Climate Change Coalition.

In addition to his climate change lectures, he has facilitated Living Smart workshops across Perth. Between 2008 and 2009 he was on the Executive Committee of the Conservation Council of Western Australia including one year as Vice President.

Gary co-founded and is Executive Director of the very exciting Days of Change program, one of the largest sustainability programs in Australia and is now General Manager WA for Eco-Kinetics, one of the largest Solar PV companies in Australia and subsidiary of ASX-listed CBD Energy.

Hills’ Community Angry about Proposed Substation

By Jacinta Goerke 

HILLS’ residents are angry Western Power is continuing to promote the need for a terminal substation in Hacketts Gully despite two decades of strong community opposition.

Long-term local resident, geologist and climate change specialist Mr Warden said he first heard about Western Power’s latest attempts to revive their project when he went to his letterbox in September 2007

“I received a Western Power flier saying a substation was going to be built near our home and we were invited to attend an information session at the Kalamunda Agricultural Hall,” said Mr Warden.

Mr Warden said he understood fliers were only sent to 1000 letterboxes[1] in Hacketts Gully, Piesse Brook, Bickley and Carmel.  The remaining affected population in the Shire of Kalamunda, City of Gosnells and Shire of Mundaring, which exceeds 175,000 people, was left uninformed.[2][3][4]   

“The information session comprised Western Power representatives who stood next to posters and answered questions people had about the proposed substation. There were no brochures to take home to read,” said Mr Warden.

“We expected the session to be a presentation from Western Power during which time they would inform us about the proposed substation and why it was needed. 

“Instead Western Power showed us maps of the state’s south west transmission network.  

“The maps were difficult to understand, yet Western Power told us the substation would eventually have up to 27 transmission lines emanating from it. 

“We were told a significant upgrade was needed to distribute more power to Perth.

“The information session left us with more questions than answers,” he said.

Mr Warden said residents were invited to write their names down if they wanted to attend community workshops in October when they would help Western Power identify the best place to build the substation. 

“Most of us wrote down our names and contact details; it was clear we wanted to be part of the community consultation process,” said Mr Warden. 

“However, when we went home we looked at Western Power’s website. 

“We were horrified and extremely concerned at what we read,” said Mr Warden. “The substation was a major infrastructure project for the Perth metropolitan area with significant implications for the City of Gosnells and shires of Kalamunda and Mundaring.[5] 

“Further investigation of government documents clearly showed that the substation had been on Western Power’s agenda since at least 1990[6].” 

Mr Warden said at a subsequent community consultation night more than 100 locals unanimously passed a motion to reject Western Power’s consultation process as being inadequate.

Mr Warden said after the consultation night he became aware that between 1998 and 2002 Western Power had tried to push through the substation by negotiating directly with Hacketts Gully residents. 

“Thankfully, the Hacketts Gully people battled with Western Power and in May 2002 the corporation wrote to them stating they had reviewed their requirements and the eastern terminal was no longer required and would not be built in Hacketts Gully nor areas close to Hacketts Gully.

“The Hackett’s Gully locals believed they had won and could resume with their orchard, wine and tourism businesses and personal lives. 

“However, five years later Western Power informed Hacketts Gully residents that the substation was back on the agenda and gave them a map pinpointing the proposed location of the substation.

“Yet, at the same time Western Power has been reassuring the broader community that they have not selected a site!”[7] 

Mr Warden said the hills’ community has every right to be angry and upset with Western Power and concerned residents should write directly to Premier Mr Alan Carpenter objecting to the substation and dissatisfaction with the way Western Power has conducted themselves.  Residents should send copies of their letters to Ms Fran Logan, Minister for Energy and local MPs. 

Journalist: Jacinta Goerke

Researchers: Toni Warden, Gary Warden