South West MP Barry House set to 'rewire'

South West MP Barry House is set to retire on May 21 and is looking forward to playing bowls after 30 years representing the region in WA's parliament.
South West MP Barry House is set to retire on May 21 and is looking forward to playing bowls after 30 years representing the region in WA's parliament.

After 30 years of championing the South West in WA’s parliament, veteran MP Barry House is set to retire and officially leave his political life on May 21 when he will delve into ‘rewirement’.

The logistics of operating as an MP and living in the country has been amazing and exhausting experience for Mr House who said he had lived out of a suitcase for the last thirty years.

“It is hard to physically keep up with that, after thirty years it takes its toll,” he said.

During his political career Mr House took on the aspect of a parliamentary office holder and was president of the Legislative Council for the last eight years.

“I got into this crazy game in 1987 and I have been here ever since,” he said.

“Nearly 30 years later here I am, it has been quite a ride.

While Mr House said public life could be quite a full on life, representing WA at local, state and an international level had been enormously rewarding.

His political career was spurred by an interest in community and public affairs and that the community representation part of the role was what motivated him over the years.

Mr House said the most rewarding parts of his job were working with people and organisations in the community who did things to make the South West a better place to live.

He helped numerous organisations improve their facilities to establish events like CinefestOz, the Emergence Creative Festival, open studios and the readers and writers festival.

“These types of events have been really community building and they play a big role in making our community what it is,” he said.

“Which is - the best corner, of the best state, of the best country in the world – that is my motto.”

In addition to the traditional agriculture and mining industries in the South West, Mr House said there were now a range of creative industries like surfing, film making, music and art.

“There is still enormous potential for growth in a managed way and the potential for tourism has only just tapped the tip of the iceberg,” he said..

“The region needs a range of accommodation facilities and I am confident that will happen in the next few years, we need a really strong marketing message to the world that here we are.

“We have to be careful how that is done so we do not kill the golden goose.”

While he has been proud of his achievements like supporting the development of trail networks throughout WA, Mr House said there were always disappointments along the way.

“You can not win every battle and I have been disappointed for some individuals who I have taken up cases for in terms of their battles with bureaucracy and sometimes I have seen some examples of people treated unfairly by the might of government,” he said.

Mr House said it could be frustrating when government decisions adversely impacted private property owners and the process did not always treat them fairly or reasonably.

On a larger scale, Mr House said he was frustrated that he did not get as far as he would have liked on getting better facilities and connectivity between the parliament and the community.

Mr House had advocated for a bridge to be built across the freeway to link WA’s parliament house and Perth city to make it more accessible for the people.

“Symbolically that is important because there is still the symbolic divide between the people and the parliament,” he said.

On the future, Mr House said he had to make some decisions about his future as he ‘rewires,’ and would like to stay involved in some forms of public service but was not sure what form that would take yet.

“I will need that space to work that out and will probably stay involved with some organisations, I cannot keep maintaining links to all of them and I might take on new roles,” he said

After retirement Mr House said he would miss working with people in the interests of a better community and the looks on people’s faces when you achieved a breakthrough.

“Whether it is a person who had a problem with housing or some issue with some form of bureaucracy or an organisation who finally received funding for something they had been seeking,” he said.