Protecting The Kimberley

Protecting The Kimberley

Future of James Price Point and Burrup Peninsula still hang in the balance

Monday, 14 November

Both James Price Point and Murujuga (Burrup Peninsula) will have their heritage status reassessed at next month’s Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee (ACMC) meeting, some 18 months after the Supreme Court decision which found 35 Aboriginal Heritage sites had been unlawfully deregistered.

WA Greens Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC said it was a disgrace the sites even had to be reassessed, given the incredible significance of both sites and the Supreme Court’s determination.

“As recommended by an Industry Working Group in 2012, the State Solicitor’s Office provided new guidelines on the definition of ‘mythological sites’ under section 5(b) of the Aboriginal Heritage Act leading to the unlawful deregistration of 35 sites. You had a situation where industry effectively told government the easiest possible method for them to circumvent Aboriginal Heritage,” Mr Chapple.

“Many of these sites have now been impacted or destroyed as their approvals were fast tracked and granted in the few short years the illegal guidelines stood, yet the Department of Aboriginal Affairs refuses to admit fault and continues to insist the sites be re-subjected to the painfully slow registration process.

“James Price Point forms part of ancient Aboriginal song line with enormous cultural significance to the more than 30 nations that remain in the area today, with evidence of habitation at the site dating back almost 30,000 years.

“JPP is also home to rare Spinner Dolphins, endangered Hawksbill Turtles and Dugongs, and an incredible collection of fossilised Cretaceous Dinosaur footprints.

“Murujuga has literally millions of beautifully preserved carvings, potentially more than 30,000 years old, and some of the world’s earliest known recordings of human faces. It is a living art gallery unlike no other and has been the subject of World Heritage for decades.

“Despite all the rhetoric from Colin Barnett and others about the importance of these sites, it is actions that speak louder than words and they have done nothing to extend these places the extreme protection they deserve.”

The closing date for written submissions on the reassessment of both DAA 30274 LSC11 (James Price Point) and DAA 23323 Burrup Peninsula, Murujuga is 5pm Friday 25 November, 2016.

Submissions can either be posted to:

Registrar of Aboriginal Sites
PO Box 3153
East Perth WA 6892

Or emailed to:

For more information please contact Tim Oliver on 0431 9696 25.

Oil and gas exploration tenements should not be allowed in the Kimberley National Parks

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

National Party fracking veto rights not extended to Traditional Owners

Wednesday, 2 November

WA Greens MLC Robin Chapple said new National Party policy giving fracking veto rights to farmers, announced at the state conference in Geraldton last weekend, did nothing to protect the rights of Traditional Owners who are opposed to the practice.

“Whilst I applaud the National Party for finally backing the rights of their constituents on the issue of fracking, this policy change is really quite discriminatory towards Aboriginal people,” Mr Chapple said.

“Traditional Owners, farmers and other landholders currently only have the right to negotiate under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act; they can either come to an agreement and get something, or oppose entirely and get nothing.

“It really irks me that the National Party would come to a unanimous decision over the rights of Farmers, but ignore the rights of such a large portion of their constituency in providing those same right to Native Title holders.

“The implications of this policy announcement are especially huge in the Kimberley, given Andrew Forrest’s Squadron Energy has this week announced a partnership with controversial Goshawk Energy over more than 220,000 sq km of tenements in the Canning Basin.

“The WA Greens oppose on shore gas development, particularly by hydraulic fracturing, on the basis gas is not a clean transition fuel and the industry is unnecessary given the risks to the environment, water reserves and human health.”

For more information please contact Tim Oliver on 0431 9696 25


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