Protecting The Kimberley

Protecting The Kimberley

Greens back moves to protect the Fitzroy

The Greens (WA) have reiterated their longstanding opposition to damming the Kimberley's Fitzroy River and backed calls to fix existing barriers to threatened sawfish migrating up the river.

"The Fitzroy, which drains a vast area of the Kimberley, is considered the most important nursery for critically endangered freshwater sawfish, which migrate up to 400 km inland as young," Greens Mining and Pastoral MLC Robin Chapple said.

"Apparently this means little to pastoralist Gina Rineheart, who reportedly told an American Chamber of Commerce dinner recently that 99 per cent of the river's water is 'wasted'.

"The Greens have staunchly opposed moves to dam the Fitzroy for the past 15 years and we welcome the McGowan Government’s resistance to moves to dam it for large-scale irrigation this time.

"We also support calls by scientists to for fishways to be built on Camballin Barrage and urgent implementation of a catchment management plan for the Fitzroy in collaboration with Traditional Owners.

"To say that the Fitzroy's water is 'wasted' when it goes out to sea reveals a low level of knowledge about the region.

"Any alteration to freshwater outfall has a corollary effect downstream – for example, on fish stocks and small fry prawn populations in King Sound." 

Fracking inquiry scope of consultation must be expanded to get bigger picture

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The WA Greens have questioned the government on the scope of their independent fracking inquiry, after stakeholders raised significant concerns there would only be three community consultation meetings; one each in Perth, the Mid-West and the Kimberley.

Mines and Petroleum spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC said the timeline of the inquiry, which is due to report its findings by August 2018 and will hold all of its community consultation in a 2 month period over Christmas, only added to his concerns that the process would be rushed.

“Quite clearly one year is nowhere near enough time to consult with all of the individuals, communities and stakeholders who have an interest in the future, or lack thereof, of fracking in the state of Western Australia,” Mr Chapple said.

“You cannot hold a single community meeting in the Kimberley and then claim you’ve undertaken consultation for the region; there are literally hundreds of different stakeholders just in that region alone and they all deserve an equal opportunity to be heard.

“I guarantee you that every single energy company who has even the slightest interest in developing parts of our beautiful, fragile state for unconventional gas production will get a hearing with this inquiry.

“So too should every single farmer, every single remote community member, every single community that has declared themselves gas-field free and any other individual or group who has a genuine interest or concern about this industry.

“It is common practice with inquiries of this nature for an interim report to be handed down and further consultation to be undertaken if necessary. If the scope of this inquiry is not significantly expanded then it is in very serious danger of becoming a rubber stamp.”

Please see attached answer recieved last night regarding the fracking inquiry Terms of Reference.

Media contact:

Tim Oliver – 08 9486 9965 // 0431 9696 25

Kimberley’s beauty will be lost forever if Rangeland reform not prioritised: Greens

Thursday 11 October

The WA Greens have called on the state Government to heed advice on the governance and ecological sustainability of our state’s pastoral lands, after the findings of an audit tabled to Parliament yesterday revealed decades of policy failure.

Environment and Lands spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC said it was clear in the report released by the Auditor General that the Pastoral Lands Board (PLB) was no longer able to fulfil its environmental responsibilities, leading to a serious decline in rangeland condition across WA’s iconic outback.

“The PLB is reliant on Limited Lease Monitoring to assess rangeland condition, which has declined from a frankly unacceptably low 15 per cent of all leases assessed in 2009 to now less than 3 per cent,” Mr Chapple said.

“We’re seeing significant decline in rangeland health over the last 50 years or more and whilst the Auditor General has identified some avenues for rectifying the issue, the Greens believe much broader reform is needed to solve this outback crisis.

“In the Kimberley, the government has identified that many pastoral leases are experiencing declining rangeland conditions and acknowledged there is no obligation for ecologically sustainable practices under the current management.

“In questions to Parliament last month the Minister identified 17 pastoral stations at-risk in the region across all rangeland conditions with no management plan to address these declines.

“Many of these pastoral stations include at-risk populations of Bilbies, sensitive wetland areas and other fragile ecosystems that have been in significant decline for decades with limited progress towards halting this decline.

“A serious change in policy is critical if we are to preserve our precious Kimberley for future generations and tourism aspirations, and I call on the new Labor Government to prioritise rangeland reform.”

Kimberley Pastoral Leases identified as being in serious decline:

-          Alice Downs

-          Bedford Downs

-          Billiluna

-          Bulka

-          Christmas Creek

-          Koongie Park

-          Lake' Gregory

-          Lansdowne

-          Lissadell

-          Moola Bulla

-          Mt Arnhurst

-          Mt House

-          Nerrima

-          Rosewood

-          Springvale

-          Texas Downs/Mabel Downs

-          Yeeda


The Question on rangeland condition asked by Hon Robin Chapple MLC on 12 September, 2017 is attached.

Fracking policy weaker in practice than election commitment: Greens

Wednesday, 6 September

The WA Greens have labelled the Government’s policy announcement on fracking yesterday as weak and a far cry from the rock solid commitment offered before the March election.

Mines and Petroleum Spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC said the Government’s position had been significantly watered down in practice, and that any policy measure implemented by regulation would never be permanent.

“Communities in the South West who’ve been waiting for Labor to follow through with their commitment to ban fracking should be concerned; an unlegislated ban can be removed at the stroke of a pen, such as straight after Labor lose an election,” Mr Chapple said.

“What is needed, and what we have been hoping for from this Government, is a legislated ban that would need the support of both houses of Parliament to be overturned.

“It also still concerns me greatly that Labor have only extended the commitment to the South West, ignoring the other significant areas of our beautiful state that are under much more immediate threat from the industry.

“Regardless of who is in Government, the outcomes for communities in the North of our state are always less than the outcomes for communities closer to Perth. I call on the Government to articulate why only a partial ban will be implemented for the South-West, Peel and Perth regions.

“I would also ask the state Government whether they will honour the gas field-free declarations of communities and Traditional Owners, regardless of the outcomes of the Enquiry, and to release the terms of reference as soon as possible.”

Media contact: Tim Oliver 0431 9696 25

Clarity from Minister needed on Yampi Sound baiting trial: Greens

WA Greens Environment spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC has called on the Minister to clarify whether the 1080-based ‘Hisstory’ baiting trial on Yampi Sound Training Area will go ahead, amid conflicting reports it has been cancelled for 2017.

“This trial was designed to test the bait’s impact on vulnerable native species, particularly the endangered Northern Quoll, in one of the few regions in WA where they remain safe from feral species,” Mr Chapple said.

“No survey has ever proven the existence of stable feral cat populations within the target area and anecdotal evidence suggests this is because Dingos – one of the few remaining pure populations in Australia – are keeping them at bay.

“This pristine wilderness is a hierarchically intact ecosystem, possibly one of the last of its kind in this condition in Australia, and should be preserved at all costs!

“Even if the Hisstory bait were to have no adverse impact on the Northern Quoll it would absolutely impact the Australian Dingo, who scavenges and ingests food in much the same manner as the cat.

“Feral species must be eradicated as they pose a very real extinction threat to many native animals. But, the methodology in this instance is akin to cutting off the nose to spite the face; it is absolutely flawed.”


Endangered Kimberley Northern Quoll and Dingo to be sacrificed in secret baiting trial

Friday, 16 June 2017

The WA Greens have raised serious concerns about a proposed baiting trial at Yampi Sound Training Area, a pristine wilderness on Department of Defence lands north of Derby in the Kimberley, to test uptake of the bait by endangered Northern Quolls.

Defence has confirmed that no Environmental Clearance Certificate was provided for the project despite it being a requirement for any activity on Defence lands, and especially when there is a perceived environmental impact.

WA Greens Environment Spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC today called on Environment Minister Stephen Dawson to immediately halt reconnaissance for the trial, due to begin on Monday.

“It absolutely beggars belief that the Department of Environment would be undertaking trials intended to impact upon stable populations of endangered species, within a conservation area that has had little if any external pressures on it,” Mr Chapple said.

“The intended target sites have been surveyed previously and as far as I am aware, not one feral cat was ever discovered. Anecdotal evidence suggests that dingos within the conservation area – one of the few remaining pure populations in Australia – are responsible.

“This pristine wilderness is a hierarchically intact ecosystem, possibly one of the last of its kind in this condition in Australia, and should be preserved at all costs!

“Even if the Hisstory bait has no adverse impact on the Northern Quoll it will absolutely impact the Australian Dingo, who scavenges and ingests food in much the same manner as the cat.

“In a strange twist of irony, it is entirely possible that diminished numbers of Dingos on Yampi Sound could lead to a surge of feral cats into the area once the trial is concluded!!

“I call upon the Minister for Environment to immediately halt his Department’s involvement in the trial until further investigation and assessment can take place.”


·         ‘Hisstory’ is a new gulping bait, based on the widely used and criticised 1080-based ‘Curiosity’ bait, designed to be more attractive to feral cats but as yet is untested

·         Hisstory’ has been designed and produced by the (Federal) Department of Environment

·         The trial will be overseen by the West Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife

Media Contact: Tim Oliver 0431 9696 25


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