Protecting The Kimberley

Protecting The Kimberley

Buru did not consult Yawuru People before Fracking Canning Basin

Thursday, 11 December

Fracking in the Canning Basin is taking place against the wishes of the lands traditional owners, the Yawuru People, according to Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC.

Yawuru man Micklo Corpus said that Buru Energy had not listened to the Yawuru people and this was a serious breach of their rights, given that 94% of the Yawuru were against the process.

Mr Chapple said Buru Energy had already established a network of more than 3500 kilometres worth of seismic lines and several test fracking wells in the area, all on Yawuru land.

“This strikes right to the heart of our government’s attitude towards indigenous people in Western Australia,” he said.

“Any development the government considers on Yawuru lands, especially one as invasive as fracking, should not be undertaken unless the express permission of the Traditional owners is given first.

“More than anything this is about showing respect to traditional owners and it should be standard practice.”

Mr Chapple said fracking in the Canning Basin was just another inclusion to an expanding list of backwards decisions made by the Barnett government along with the closure of more than 150 remote communities and significant proposed changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

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

Koolan Island mine flooding is an environmental disaster for Kimberley Coast

Greens Member of Parliament, Robin Chapple is absolutely appalled at the environmental disaster on Koolan Island with the Mt Gibson iron ore mine flooding yet again.

“How many times does this mine have to flood before the problem is fixed properly?” Mr Chapple asked.

“This is a classic example of the mismanagement of a mine that will now severely impact on our marine life in Kimberley!

“The public have a right to know how the Barnett Government and Mount Gibson Iron Ore will fix the section of the sea wall that keeps on collapsing and how they will manage the water that is being pumped out to sea.

“The biodiversity and scenic beauty of the Kimberley coast is one of Australia’s national treasures that is already under threat by competing industry groups and this is just one example of how the exploitation of our natural resources threatens that ecology and biodiversity of the region.

“I will certainly be raising these questions to the Department of Mines as a matter of urgency,” Mr Chapple added.

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


Relocation of Burrup Rock Art dumped in the 1980s Welcomed by WA Greens

WA Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region and long-time Burrup activist Robin Chapple MLC has welcomed the relocation of more than 1700 pieces of Aboriginal rock art that were dumped to make way for Woodside’s North West Shelf LNG project.

The rock art, which is considered highly significant, had been kept in a Pilbara compound since the early 1980s until the relocation process was initiated in 2009 by the elders from the four groups.

Mr Chapple said the inclusion of local Aboriginal elders in the relocation and restoration process contributed strongly to the successful outcome.

“This was an important step by Woodside in recognising and remediating some of the past wrongs done in the Burrup and I congratulate them for that,” he said.

 “The Burrup Peninsula is home to the world’s largest, and oldest, collection of Aboriginal rock art with some of the paintings and carvings dating back more than 30,000 years.

“The cultural significance of rock art here cannot be overstated and I’m glad it’s finally starting to get the recognition, and respect, it deserves.”

Mr Chapple said he hoped restoration projects such as this didn’t encourage further development on the culturally significant Burrup Peninsula.

“Whilst this is a brilliant outcome for the local Aboriginal people, for the Burrup and for Aboriginal heritage in general there needs to be greater recognition that this place is too special to plunder,” he said.

“Currently, only about 44 per cent of the peninsula is protected by Murujuga National Park which, upon its creation in January last year, felt like somewhat of a token gesture.

“I would appeal again to governments state and federal, as I have many times in the past, to make World Heritage Listing of the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago a priority of national and international significance.”

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

Further Conflicts of Interests Revealed in EPA Bungle

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The state government has revealed a further 40 projects, on top of the 25 identified earlier this year, where declarations of a conflict of interest were made by members of the Environmental Protection Authority.

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC said this new revelation has totally crippled the legitimacy of the EPA.

“There is absolutely no way the government can continue to brush this issue to one side,” he said.

“Any government with a thread of decency would immediately undertake a review of the projects involved, dismiss the current board members and think very carefully about who they replaced them with.”

Mr Chapple said the government was being deliberately misleading in taking this long to reveal the full extent of conflicts of interest within the EPA.

“How many more corrections will need to be made before the full extent of this issue is revealed?,” he said.

“Not only is this government not taking seriously this issue, which could potentially invalidate the projects involved, but it is trying to change the laws to get around it as if it were no big deal.

“I will be calling on the auditor general to review the declaration process within the EPA over previous projects.

“The current validation bill before the house will summarily validate all previous mistakes; this is not an acceptable way to do business in this day and age.”

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

Petroleum Leases Threaten Drinking Water Reserves

4th October 2014

The West Australian Greens have renewed calls for a reassessment of intrusive mining and petroleum leases after the release of a map, produced by the WA Water Corporation, which has revealed that the state’s drinking water reserves could be under serious threat. 

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC said the map showed petroleum exploration leases had been issued over a large proportion of the state’s drinking water reserves, some of which may later become the subject of fracking. This includes almost every coastal water reserve between Margaret River and Geraldton.

“That any development concerning mining or exploration of any kind gets such a free run is a disgrace,” Mr Chapple said.

“There are too many examples where the Department of Mines and Petroleum, sometimes against the wishes of the EPA, allows exploration in areas with significant and well known heritage, conservation or other factors at stake.

“The Burrup Peninsula, for instance, has an immeasurable concentration of the world’s oldest known human art – a unique and culturally significant heritage location not just for WA – yet this government continues to approve exploration and development that is sadly compromising this unique landscape.

“We knew there was exploration going on near water reserves because I have communities, farmers and small businesses all over my electorate up in arms about it but we didn’t know the extent.

“Gas fracking has already been given the go ahead a stone’s throw from the water supply bores of Green Head and Leeman, and similar proposals are facing strong opposition in Geraldton, Carnarvon and across the Kimberley.

“To see the extent of the problem and the amount of land the DMP has released for exploration, let alone how it has managed to fly this under the radar for so long, is alarming,” Mr Chapple said.

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

Kimberley Needs Ignored with Horizon Staff Cut

Thursday 18 September

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC said he was outraged by the government’s attitude towards regional energy security after Horizon Power announced it would be cutting 12 staff, including five in Kununurra, four in Broom and three in Esperance, by the end of this year.

This initial cut is part of the governments larger Strategic Review Program designed to reduce Horizon Power’s subsidy, and which could cut as many as 61.5 staff from the Kimberley, Midwest, Esperance, and Northwest regions by the end of 2016.

Mr Chapple has labelled the program as insulting to regional power customers, who already pay higher premiums for what is often a diminished service.

“It is precisely these regions where the government should be looking to improve power delivery to its customers,” he said.

“I don’t see how they’re going to do that with 60 less staff.”

A table provided by the Minister for Energy lists more than 170 outages in Kununurra over the last two years with an average of 327 minutes per outage, or more than 5 hours, however the Network Quality and Reliability of Supply Code states there should be no more than 16 outages per year of greater than one minute.

The data from Kununurra is greater than the prescribed standards by 1,100% in the frequency and 32,700% in the duration of power outages.

Mr Chapple said Kununurra had the least reliable power supply in Western Australia and the decision by Horizon Power to cut more staff was despicable.

“The community of Kununurra has been short-changed by this government,” he said.

“Nobody wants to pay for a service that is so dodgy it regularly cuts out for hours at a time.

“In some instances residents were without power for more than twenty hours.

“Yet the Strategic Review Program has outlined a total of 14.5 staff cuts that will be made in the Kimberley region by the end of 2016.

“I think it can be safely said that this government cares little for the present, or future, energy needs of Kimberley residents.”

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

Potential hidden environmental cost of Government’s irrigation vision

Thursday 31 July 2014           

Greens member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC said he tentatively supports the government’s ‘Irrigation Vision’ for the West Kimberley but would like to see more research into the environmental consequences of the scheme.

Stage one of the program will see more than $15 million invested in irrigation infrastructure east of Derby including almost $5 million at Mowanjum Station to grow irrigated fodder crops in support of the community’s pastoral aspirations.

But Mr Chapple said he was concerned high-intensity irrigation projects would have significant and detrimental flow-on effects for the Kimberley’s water cycle.

“The claim that wet season floods are ‘wasted’ is a total myth,” he said.

“Pumping water from the river valley floodplains may endanger the deep refuge pools that rely on floodplain groundwater to survive the dry season.

“These pools are critical for species such as Barramundi, Black Bream and freshwater prawns, allowing them to complete their life cycles and harbour juveniles.

“Harvesting what appears to be excess water in the Kimberley for agricultural production could ultimately be a trade-off with the health of the Kimberley’s river and groundwater systems.”

These views have been echoed in a new Kimberley based study by the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge research hub (TRaCK).

Mr Chapple said he would like to see more in-depth research done into the environmental impact of the proposed irrigation schemes but is not entirely opposed to the idea.

“This project could be great for supporting the independence of Mowanjum Aboriginal Corporation and other remote communities and traditional land-owners,” he said.

“But, any financial benefit to these communities must be matched by a commitment to protect the significant biodiversity and astounding natural beauty of their lands.”

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

Barnett – Redman hell bent on destroying the West Kimberley

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The State Government through the royalties for regions program has just announced funding for the Areva Resources Uranium company exploration program throughout the Canning Basin in the West Kimberley.

Not content in opening up the Canning Basin to the fracking industry, the Government now seeks to complete the destruction of the region by supporting uranium mining in the Derby- Broome region.

“This is a cynical payback, by Barnett and Redman, for the Kimberley for having rejected his James Price Point pipe dream” said Mr Chapple, Greens spokesperson for Mining.

Uranium prices are at a recent all-time low, so why are the Nationals and Barnett propping up this dying industry?

Minister Redman needs to explain why in this time of fiscal restraint why he is wasting limited taxpayers money on this forlorn industry?

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

State Government must disclose danger to Derby residents of Rey Resources activities

Wednesday 14th May 2014

“The people of Derby can be forgiven for thinking that the State Government is giving them the runaround.”

This is the view of Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC upon receiving answers to questions in Parliament recently.

Mr Chapple was commenting on two ‘non-responses’ from the Minister for the Environment regarding questions about the Rey Resources Duchess Paradise Coal Project.

“If approved, the project will see 100 road train movements, 24 hours per day, along Derby‘s main street, Mr Chapple said. “This equates to one road train every 14.4 minutes.

“I wonder if anyone has discussed this scheme and its health ramifications with the good folk of Derby.

“Matters such as air pollution from diesel particulates, increased potential for road and loading accidents, and hazards for pedestrians seem to have raised barely a shrug from the Minister for Environment.

“Asked why the impacts of the diesel carcinogenic pollution from Rey Resources’ 24 hour trucking operation through the centre of Derby was not dealt with in the company’s Public Environmental Review (PER), the Minister’s first response on 1st April 2014 was: ‘the combustion emissions from diesel-powered generators and vehicles are considered as a possible impact on air quality in the PER’.

“However, this answer was only in relation to the mine site, not the town of Derby.

“When asked again on 22nd April 2014, drawing attention to the apparent omission in the PER, the Minister washed his hands of all responsibility, saying ‘the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is responsible for setting the form, content and timing for the assessment and is to report to me on the key environmental factors and whether the proposal should be implemented, and if so, recommend condition’.

“This is a clear case of the tail wagging the dog. How on earth can the Minister allow this situation to occur, without seemingly batting an eyelid, when people’s health is at stake?” Mr Chapple said.

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

Parliamentary Questions here and here


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