Grow own veg to help en­vi­ron­ment

Pilbara News - - Pilbara Lifestyle - Robyn Gul­liver

■ One of the great things about gar­den­ing in Kar­ratha is the op­por­tu­nity it pro­vides to fill your larder and live more sus­tain­ably at the same time.

Grow­ing and pro­duc­ing food lo­cally has a wealth of ben­e­fits and the best time to see and enjoy those ben­e­fits is dur­ing har­vest time in spring and early sum­mer.

Gar­den­ing is not only con­sid­ered good for the soul, but also re­duces our en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

While buy­ing WA-grown food is a great idea to sup­port lo­cal pro­duc­ers, it is still a long jour­ney from the fields to the shops of Kar­ratha. This jour­ney en­tails the cre­ation of pol­lu­tants and green­house gas emis­sions from the trans­porta­tion and stor­age re­quire­ments of the pro­duce. So, just as it is best to re­use items that are al­ready in Kar­ratha to min­imise your en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print, it is also a great idea to try and grow some easy-to-main­tain veg­eta­bles or fruit in the back­yard.

Any­thing you are suc­cess­ful in grow­ing will re­duce in­di­rect green­house gas emis­sions which are sig­nif­i­cantly af­fect­ing our global cli­mate. Even bet­ter, us­ing grey­wa­ter or other wa­ter-ef­fi­cient meth­ods for ir­ri­ga­tion and boost­ing your soil us­ing com­post gets triple the en­vi­ron­men­tal brownie points and hope­fully a more boun­ti­ful har­vest. An­other ben­e­fit of grow­ing lo­cal is be­ing able to join a com­mu­nity of gar­den­ers keen to share tips and ideas to keep the har­vest flow­ing and try out new va­ri­eties and plants. The com­mu­nity gar­den has helped sup­port the gar­den­ers ofKar­ratha over the past three years and the huge level of sup­port and in­ter­est it has re­ceived from the com­mu­nity is tes­ta­ment to its suc­cess.

The gar­den busy bees will start up again in April 2015 so keep your eye out on the Kar­ratha Com­mu­nity Gar­den Face­book page to join in the gar­den­ing ac­tion in the new year. When you think of Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion, you might as­so­ciate the agency with help­ing peo­ple who have bought prod­ucts or ser­vices, but ten­ancy is a big part of what we do.

This week, a land­lord who spent ten­ants’ se­cu­rity bonds, ha­rassed a ten­ant and took too much rent money up front was fined $24,000 af­ter we pros­e­cuted him.

Thirty-seven-year-old Carl Ray­mond Olsen, of Meekatharra, who owned and leased out a property in High Wy­combe be­tween 2013 and 2014, didn’t ap­pear at the Mid­land Mag­is­trate’s Court on Oc­to­ber 27, but was found guilty of 13 con­tra­ven­tions of the Res­i­den­tial Te­nan­cies Act in his ab­sence.

Mr Olsen took bonds from three ten­ants and failed to de­posit the money with the Bond Ad­min­is­tra­tor at the Depart­ment of Commerce, as re­quired by law.

Land­lords can­not spend money given as se­cu­rity against a rental property.

The funds must be pro­tected by be­ing held in trust and will be re­turned to the ten­ant at the end of the rental agree­ment pro­vided the property is left in an ap­pro­pri­ate con­di­tion.

An­other ten­ant felt ha­rassed when Mr Olsen would con­stantly turn up unan­nounced and un­in­vited dur­ing her ten­ancy and re­peat­edly phoned her and sent her texts.

A land­lord must re­spect a ten­ant’s right to pri­vacy, peace and com­fort.

No­tice of no less than seven days and no more than 14 days must be given for any rou­tine in­spec­tions, which have to be at a rea­son­able and con­ve­nient time, and can only be car­ried out four times a year.

Even in the case of in­spect­ing nec­es­sary re­pairs, 72 hours writ­ten no­tice is re­quired.

On top of this, Mr Olsen also made ten­ants pay him four to six weeks rent up­front when a land­lord is not legally al­lowed to take more than two weeks rent in the first two weeks of a ten­ancy.

This was one of the im­por­tant changes to the Res­i­den­tial Te­nan­cies Act in July, 2013, to help ease fi­nan­cial pres­sures when rent­ing a home in WA.

Charges also re­lated to: ■ The use of in­cor­rect forms when putting new ten­ancy agree­ments in writ­ing. ■ Not pro­vid­ing re­ceipts for rental pay­ments. ■ Tak­ing six weeks rent as bond money when the bond should be no more than four weeks rent, un­less the weekly rent ex­ceeds $1200.

Upon read­ing this story, other West Aus­tralians may re­alise that a land­lord is break­ing ten­ancy law.

I would en­cour­age wronged ten­ants to lodge a com­plaint with Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

On­line com­plaints can be sub­mit­ted via www.commerce.wa.gov.au/ com­plain or call 1300 30 40 54 to ob­tain a hard copy.

Land­lords can learn about their rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties by re­view­ing Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion’s web­pages and videos, at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/ ten­ancy.

Pic­ture: Robyn Gul­liver

Max Jones, 9, is har­vest­ing one of the first paw paws of the sea­son.

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