MLCs take Puma fight to State jurisdiction

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Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times
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Three South West MLCs have written to Puma Energy to encourage the company to rethink its plan for a petrol station on Dunn Bay Road in Dunsborough. Pictured is a Puma station in Perth.
Camera IconThree South West MLCs have written to Puma Energy to encourage the company to rethink its plan for a petrol station on Dunn Bay Road in Dunsborough. Pictured is a Puma station in Perth. Credit: Supplied

The Puma petrol station saga has made its way to State Parliament, with three South West MLCs writing to Puma Energy encouraging the company to rethink its plan for Dunsborough.

Three Upper House MPs, including the Greens’ Diane Evers, the Nationals’ Colin Holt and One Nation’s Colin Tincknell, have now made contact with Puma chief executive Pierre Eladari.

While Ms Evers could not be reached for comment by deadline, Mr Holt and Mr Tincknell said the matter had now moved beyond a local government issue.

Mr Tincknell told the Times his job was to represent the local community.

“The movement has been very strong and I want (politicians)standing up to represent the community to have bipartisan support,” he said. “We just want to do what is best for the community.”

These sentiments were echoed by Mr Holt, who said the proposal was not purely a local government issue because it affected locals and visitors alike.

He said after many approaches by concerned locals, he decided to write the letter, which outlined the issues raised by residents in relation to the proposed location.

Mr Holt urged the company to engage with local stakeholders.

Despite the heated stoush, which spans several years, Mr Tincknell said he was optimistic a resolution could be achieved.

However, he believed the way forward would inevitably require some sort of negotiation.

He said he did not want to discourage Puma from investing in the South West, but highlighted their business might be affected if the plans went ahead in the current form.

Mr Holt said that for the business to be sustainable, it must operate with a “social licence”.

The development would be the third petrol facility in Dunsborough’s town centre but has faced staunch opposition, with 2000 people vowing to boycott Puma if it goes ahead.

The Times contacted the other South West MLCs — Liberal Steve Thomas, and Labor’s Sally Talbot and Adele Farina — but did not hear back by deadline.

Lower House representative, Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said because the decision to approve the station had been appealed, it was up to the judiciary to determine whether this was an appropriate and lawful arrangement.

An appeal against the State Administrative Tribunal’s decision permitting the development is being reviewed by the Supreme Court, but there is no indication yet when a decision will be expected.

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