Government Slips Deeper into Sticky Ord Mess

Greens WA member for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC, today renewed his criticism of the way the Grylls-Barnett government has handled the Kimberley’s Ord expansion project.

“When the current government first got involved with this project, I was at least prepared to give them credit for touting this as a food-bowl scheme.

“But very soon it became clear that all we were going to get was a choice between various exotic schemes, at the fringes of bona-fide agriculture, and very far removed from genuine food production.

“Now, no matter how they try to dress it up, it has come down to a taxpayer-funded biofuel for export plan.

“History shows that large-scale irrigation schemes lead to land degradation and other problems, and we will be left footing the bill to fix up the mess.

“The Kimberley needs sustainable industries, with regional community owned enterprises to increase regional employment and support local small business, not another large foreign-owned business siphoning short-term profits out of the region.

“To try to make a case for the Ord River Expansion as a project which benefits the Kimberley is a furphy. In fact the massive taxpayer investments are largely going offshore, and doing little to support regional industry or aboriginal enterprise.

“Before any more money is thrown into this mess, the government should publicly release a full cost benefit analysis of the project, with particular emphasis on the whole-of-life, long term environmental and social costs to the local community, and the impact it has on cultural industries, aboriginal tourism enterprise and other local or community projects.

“What good is this to the Western Australian people? A few jobs here and there are hardly worth the millions spent on the development of this scheme”, Mr Chapple concluded.

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255

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