-Update (March 2015)-
A 5 million hectare National Park, Australia's largest, is set to be created after a deal was struck banning all mining in the iconic Mitchell Plateau. No further mining or exploration will be allowed in the 175,000 hectare area which is part of the larger National Park. Rio Tinto had been exploring Mitchell Plateau for 40 years, but agreed to relinquish their leases back to the WA Government for Conservation purposes.
Although Rio Tinto relinquished their mining rights due to the new National park, this does not rule out other Mining companies from further exploration, a National park in itself does not necessarily preclude all mining.
The National park will include 2 million hectares of the Kimberley, taking in iconic areas such as Prince Regent, Lawley River and Mitchell Falls.
The Tourism Council of WA released Marine Tour Operators Best Practice Standards, a report developed with the Department of Fisheries under the Kimberley Science & Conservation Strategy. The work aims to ensure the Kimberley tourism industry maintains the highest standards while protecting, preserving and presenting this untouched environment. The Greens (WA) support joint management of the conservation estate.
The Kimberley region is Western Australia's most northerly region and encompasses one-sixth of the state's total land area. Its immense and complex landscape contains spectacular gorges, waterfalls, cave systems, rainforests and an astonishing variety of wildlife. The sandstone gorges of the region are the stunning setting for some of Australia's oldest surviving rock art (petroglyphs and pictograms), including the Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) and Wandjina styles.
The Greens (WA) are committed to protecting the region’s wilderness areas, coasts and rivers. We also believe in protecting the rights of all of its people and ensuring its Aboriginal communities are adequately resourced by government.
The Greens (WA) want:
- World Heritage listing of the Kimberley
- adequate funding to address environmental issues such as over-grazing, over-fishing, invasive species and bush fires
- an increase in the management and ownership of sea and land conservation areas by Aboriginal groups
- Liquid Natural Gas developments in the Kimberley region to be rejected if they lead to major local, state or national greenhouse impacts
- the rejection of bauxite mining in the north Kimberley
- the rejection of any new dams and large-scale land-clearing
- a new WA Biodiversity Conservation Act leading to a statutory regional conservation plan.
The Greens (WA) will initiate and support legislation and actions that:
- site any Browse basin gas developments on either off-shore floating platforms or south of Broome including the Pilbara (excluding the Burrup or Barrow Island) in areas preferably with existing industrial infrastructure
- declare a representative marine parks system in the Kimberley region
- keep waterways healthy and restore degraded aquatic areas;
- manage new conservation reserves and ‘off-reserve’ areas for conservation
- promote land use and economic models compatible with the natural values of the region
- increase funding to programs such as Aboriginal rangers;
- provide stewardship payments to pastoralists who conserve ecosystems through practises such as fire, weed and feral animal management
- ensure that profits and the development of tourism and recreational fishing contribute to Aboriginal economy and management
- find a just resolution to the requests for compensation for ill-health suffered by Kimberley herbicide workers.