Protecting The Kimberley

Protecting The Kimberley

WA Greens applaud government on Mitchell Plateau

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC has congratulated the state government on its historic deal with Rio Tinto and Alcoa to axe a 45-year old state agreement to mine bauxite and refine aluminium on Mitchell Plateau in the North Kimberley.

The plateau will form a part of the proposed Kimberley National Park which will span 2 million hectares of land.

Mr Chapple said he was ecstatic parts of the Kimberley were finally getting the recognition and conservation they deserved.

“The Kimberley is a spectacular region that is truly worth protecting not only for its unique natural beauty, but for its cultural and historical significance,” he said.

“Some of the rock art in the Kimberley is thought to be amongst the oldest in the world – we are talking about some of the first ever recordings done by human beings.

“This is an historic step taken by the Barnett government, a bipartisan step, and I applaud them for their perseverance.

For comment please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

Media liaison: Tim Oliver           

Mobile: 0431 9696 25

Greens slam government for poor vision on Barrow

Thursday, 26 February


Greens MLC for the Mining and Pastoral region Robin Chapple yesterday slammed the government’s 2015 Barrow Island management plan as largely not addressing the extent of the issues present nor accounting for the growth in size of the Gorgon project.

The environmental management plan lays out the government’s expectations relating to the island’s natural environment, cultural heritage and resources for the next 10 years.

Mr Chapple said the management plan offered nothing useful in the way of restoring what had already been damaged on Barrow Island but instead offered a method of simply managing the status quo.

“There is absolutely nothing new in this plan that wasn’t already a part of Gorgon’s original contract for the island,” he said.

“There has been a large expansion of the project – it is now 2 or 3 times the size it was intended to be – and this management plan fails to address any of the subsequent issues caused by this expansion.

“When Colin Barnett was opposition leader he said Gorgon should never have been allowed on Barrow Island and vowed to force them off should he become Premier.

“As is so often the case with our Premier he has neglected to follow through with this commitment, perhaps hoping the rest of us would just forget about the issue?”

Mr Chapple said Barrow Island was a poorly managed environmental disaster.

“Invasive species at critical levels, injured and threatened native species, loss of natural habitats due to concrete infrastructure, poorly managed quarantine – the list goes on,” he said.

“As the Gorgon project continues to expand so too will the threats to this pristine environment, in particularly the 24 species of endemic native flora and fauna.

“I believe the situation has reached a point where, once Gorgon has vacated the premises, it will take billions of dollars’ worth of reinvestment to return Barrow Island to the sensitive state it was in prior to the arrival of Chevron.”

For comment please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

Media liaison: Tim Oliver     

Mobile: 0431 9696 25

Extensive illegal land clearing in Kimberley uncovered

Almost 2,000 hectares of pastoral land in the Kimberley has been cleared without a permit in the past five years.

Greens member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC uncovered the information in response to questions in Parliament.

Following inspections by the Department of Environmental Regulation (DER) the major perpetrator, South African in West Australia (SAWA Pty Ltd), was granted a retrospective land clearing permit and escaped prosecution for its actions at Shamrock Station.

Other SAWA properties, Moola Bulla Station and Beefwod Park Station, are currently undergoing assessment by DER, in consideration of even larger areas of clearing without a permit.

The offences in question occurred on Moola Bulla Station - approximately 784 ha; Beefwood Park Station - approximately 821 ha; Shamrock Station - approximately 236 ha; Kilto Station - approximately 60 ha; El Questro Station - approximately 6 ha; and Thangoo Station - approximately 15 ha.

Mr Chapple said it was wrong of the Department not to prosecute over the illegal clearing of native vegetation on the stations in question.

“This inaction by the department sends out a message that it’s ok to clear native vegetation at will, without any kind of environmental assessment or authority to do so,” he said.

“It’s akin to allowing a thief to keep the items he has stolen with just a slap on the wrist.

“The Department of Environmental Regulation is doing a fantastically poor job of regulating and prosecuting environmental crimes.”

Mr Chapple said he hoped the illegal clearing at Moola Bulla Station and Beefwood Park Station, by far the largest allegations, would result in prosecutions.

“The government needs to send a strong message to leaseholders that this kind of practice will not be tolerated,” he said.

“The department should be there to regulate and protect our natural environment, not facilitate its destruction.”

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

Native animals trapped in Buru’s exposed fracking tailings dams

Thursday, 11 December

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC has slammed Buru Energy’s Yulleroo operations after disturbing images have surfaced showing the decaying remains of a wild dingo trapped in a water pond.

Mr Chapple said this was just one of many animals found dead or rescued from Buru’s tailings dams since operations began in the area several years ago.

“It’s not just dingoes but also reptiles, birds and various small marsupials that have been found trapped in these ponds,” he said.

“These tailings dams contain a toxic mixture of chemicals from the fracking process and also often include heavy metal traces and hydrocarbons drawn up from deep underground as a part of fluid recovery.

“They are clearly not addressing the reality that native animals will see these ponds and assume they are a safe water source.”

Mr Chapple said Buru’s fracking operations in the Kimberley should be immediately halted until such time as they have received proper and thorough environmental assessment.

“Buru energy have proven time and again that they are not fit to manage, nor have they properly assessed, the potential environmental impacts of this invasive mining process,” he said.

“Until such time as they can guarantee that precious groundwater reserves won’t be contaminated, local ecosystems won’t be affected and native fauna won’t continue to die horrible deaths in their toxic ponds then they should not be allowed to continue operations.”

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


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