WA Greens MLC Robin Chapple, a Kimberley resident, said he was astounded to learn oil and gas exploration could be allowed in several National Parks and conservation areas without even a requirement for it to always be referred to the EPA.
“Surely, simply by virtue of being National Parks and nature reserves, these incredible and unique Kimberley places would be considered ‘environmentally sensitive areas’ and therefore should be referred to the EPA in all instances and at all stages,” Mr Chapple said.
“In dealing with the Alumina Refinery (Mitchell Plateau) Agreement (Termination) Bill 2015 the government went to great lengths to tell us that in adding the Mitchell Plateau area to the proposed Kimberley National Park, extractive industries would not be allowed in that area.
“It is absolutely shocking to me that other fantastic National Parks in the Kimberley - Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek, Devonian Reef Conservation Park and Brooking Gorge Conservation Park - would be considered for such large scale onshore gas production at a time when we already have a huge excess of off-shore gas production.
“There is a myth being perpetuated by Industry that gas is somehow clean, or a necessary transition fuel away from reliance on coal, or both!! But we have the technology now to move past fossil fuels, and it is improving rapidly.
“By the time we build the necessary infrastructure to move from reliance on coal to a gas-based system, including onshore gas fields to produce that gas, it is realistic to assume that renewable energy production will far exceed it economically if it doesn’t already.
“The Kimberley is one of Australia’s last great untouched wildernesses and has so much more value to us now, and in the future, if it remains that way.”
Media contact: Tim Oliver 0431 9696 25