Protecting The Kimberley

Protecting The Kimberley

Kimberley climate change

Kimberley Climate Change Report is Another Wake-up Call

18 June 2013

Greens WA spokesperson on Climate Change and member for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC, today urged all parties to seriously reflect on the latest reports into climate change and its projected effects on WA.

“There is an ever-increasing flow of credible research into the harmful effects of climate change, and it is time to take stock and look at what it all means for WA.

“We can no longer afford the luxury of the usual who’s right/who’s wrong to-and-fro that has characterized this debate for the past decade. What is needed now is cool heads and, above all, leadership to steer the course of policy in response to this fundamental challenge to society.

“The Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participationreport, “Impact of climate change on health and wellbeing in remote Australian communities”, lays out in stark relief what climate change will mean in the Kimberley, as the lack of economic resources in many local communities will leave them unable to adapt to the changes in health, water supply, agriculture, social cohesion and other factors, which will occur as temperatures rise and rainfall patterns change.

“Then we have the Climate Commission’s “Critical Decade” report update clearly showing the effect of rising global temperatures, in increasing the frequency and nature of extreme weather events in Australia.

“Our farming groups have acknowledged that the wheatbelt is not experiencing drought – it is suffering the effects of the drying trend in our South-West’s winter rainfall.

“Our political leaders can no longer stand on the sidelines and say it’s someone else’s problem – we deserve better than this – we can be part of the solution, with a switch to renewable energy.

“The Greens have the Energy 2029 plan which shows how WA can make the change.

Energy 2029 plan:

CRC-REP Report:

Climate Commission Report:

Government Slips Deeper into Sticky Ord Mess

Greens WA member for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC, today renewed his criticism of the way the Grylls-Barnett government has handled the Kimberley’s Ord expansion project.

“When the current government first got involved with this project, I was at least prepared to give them credit for touting this as a food-bowl scheme.

“But very soon it became clear that all we were going to get was a choice between various exotic schemes, at the fringes of bona-fide agriculture, and very far removed from genuine food production.

“Now, no matter how they try to dress it up, it has come down to a taxpayer-funded biofuel for export plan.

“History shows that large-scale irrigation schemes lead to land degradation and other problems, and we will be left footing the bill to fix up the mess.

“The Kimberley needs sustainable industries, with regional community owned enterprises to increase regional employment and support local small business, not another large foreign-owned business siphoning short-term profits out of the region.

“To try to make a case for the Ord River Expansion as a project which benefits the Kimberley is a furphy. In fact the massive taxpayer investments are largely going offshore, and doing little to support regional industry or aboriginal enterprise.

“Before any more money is thrown into this mess, the government should publicly release a full cost benefit analysis of the project, with particular emphasis on the whole-of-life, long term environmental and social costs to the local community, and the impact it has on cultural industries, aboriginal tourism enterprise and other local or community projects.

“What good is this to the Western Australian people? A few jobs here and there are hardly worth the millions spent on the development of this scheme”, Mr Chapple concluded.

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

Canning fracking Bill

Stale Fracking Bill Shows Barnett has Learned Nothing

Thursday 9th May 2013

WA Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region and spokesperson on Mining and Energy, Robin Chapple MLC, has today slammed the Barnett-Grylls Government’s reintroduction of last year’s lapsed Canning Basin development Bill, which enshrines their deal with Buru Energy and Mitsubishi.

“There’s a stink emanating from this newly-installed government – and it’s the malodorous stench of rotten gas associated with its latest fracking proposals.

“I had hoped the resounding backlash by Kimberley voters against inappropriate Kimberley development, plus the implications of the decision by Woodside to step back from the James Price Point project, would have given the Premier a much-needed fresh perspective on the needs of this region.

“Unfortunately, it seems nothing has changed, and it’s clear the next four years will only see a renewed pig-headedness to pursue this type of flawed project.

“I am deeply disturbed at Mr Barnett’s constant deal-making with mining companies and his scant regard for the natural environment and Indigenous heritage, which have already been compromised as a result of the careless actions of Buru and Mitsubishi Corporation.”

 “Evidence from around the world shows that fracking is an undesirable practice at the best of times – let alone in some of the last remaining pristine wilderness areas of the Kimberley.

“If ever brought on-stream, this project would cause huge increases in WA’s greenhouse gas emissions, with a resultant flow-on to dangerous climate change.

“The Greens have shown the way on replacing outdated fossil fuels by renewables with our Energy 2029 report – and it’s high time the government got on board.

Energy 2029 plan:

Greens oppose Nationals’ plans to dam the Fitzroy River and promote broad scale land clearing in the Kimberley

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC has criticized the National Party’s newly released ‘vision for agriculture’ as it relates to the Kimberley region, calling it a thinly veiled attempt to put the damming of the Fitzroy River back on the State’s agenda.

“I will oppose any attempt to dam the Fitzroy River for agriculture or any other purposes, and resist all moves to clear native vegetation for broad scale irrigated agriculture projects such as those proposed in the late 1990s and early 2000s for the cultivation of genetically modified cotton.

“Brendon Grylls and the Nationals have clearly never given up on ruining one of the last remaining major wild rivers in northern Australia for their own political ends.

“Studies that have been carried out on the feasibility of building dams on the Fitzroy River and establishing broad scale irrigated agriculture in the West Kimberley have all cautioned against the move on environmental and financial grounds.

“This is a foolish proposal by people who are driven by their egos and have no understanding of the Kimberley. It must be stopped once and for all,” Mr Chapple said.

Nationals Agricultural Policy:

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

Barnett says he won’t back big bauxite in the Kimberley, but Greens WA Member for Mining and Pastoral remains cynical.

Greens WA spokesperson on Mining, Robin Chapple MLC, has questioned the motives of the Barnett Government in refusing the two to three-year extension and State Agreement request of mining giants Rio Tinto and Alcoa on a bauxite deposit on the Mitchell  Plateau surrounded by national park south-west of Kalumburu.

“While the refusal of this proposal is a positive one and I commend Mr Barnett for making it, it is easy to be cynical on these kinds of statements, especially when made in the lead-up to an election”, said Mr Chapple today.

“Premier Barnett has shown us time and again that he has no intention of protecting environment where big mining industries have an interest, and the environmental reputation of his government is in tatters because of it. He is desperate for some environmental credibility, but recent announcements are too little, too late.

“I’d like to hope we can hold the Premier to his word on this issue, but with James Price Point, the Burrup and so many other environmentally damaging developments under his belt I suspect the Western Australian people should reserve their applause until after the election.”

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

Horizontal Waterfalls Mining Ban a PR stunt, Grylls fund promotes exploration next-door

Greens WA spokesperson on Mining, Robin Chapple MLC, has highlighted the duplicity of the Grylls Barnett government for talking up a mining ban over the Horizontal Waterfalls whilst at the same time funding minerals exploration on an adjacent tract of land.

“The Government’s announcement yesterday that it is creating a mining exclusion zone to protect the Horizontal Waterfalls is unconvincing while it is also funding exploration activity on adjacent land,” Mr Chapple said.

“It appears that yesterday’s statement was issued just 24 hours after an announcement that the government’s Royalties for Regions’ Exploration Incentive Scheme will assist Beau Resources Pty Ltd to explore for minerals in the tenement opposite and adjacent to the Horizontal Waterfalls, as shown in the map.

“Add to this that the mining ban is only valid for two years before being reviewed, and it is clear that there are no guarantees of lasting protection for this icon of the north Kimberley,” Mr Chapple said.

Horizontal Waterfalls has been nominated for inclusion on the Register of State Geoheritage Sites.

Greens Oppose Barnett’s Kimberley-to-Perth Water Plan

Greens Member of Parliament Robin Chapple MLC has condemned the Premier’s actions in once again talking up a plan to send water from the Kimberley to Perth, to alleviate water shortages in the south of the state.

“Mr Barnett made the statement during his visit to the East Kimberley last week, saying he stood by his belief that water could be piped from the Kimberley to address water shortages,” Mr Chapple said.

“The plan to transport water from the Kimberley to Perth was thoroughly investigated in 2006 by an Expert Panel who found the costs and hazards involved to be prohibitive.

“The Panel, which cost the WA taxpayers $4million, compared the costs and risks of transporting the water by canal, pipeline, ocean-going tankers and tugs towing giant water bags.

“The panel concluded that, regardless of which option was selected, householders would end up paying exorbitant prices for water and the project would cripple the state budget.

“The Carpenter Government opted to build a desalination plant in Kwinana instead, for a fraction of the cost.

“Aside from the cost, there are also many Native Title and environmental considerations that would make the proposal impractical.

“The Premier’s attempt to resurrect a Kimberley-to-Perth water supply is irresponsible and smacks of a leader who will go to any lengths in order to have his way.

“Let us not forget that he lost the 2005 state election over his promise to build a canal from the Kimberley to Perth,” Mr Chapple said.

Selling off the Ord for a little Sugar

Robin Chapple MLC, Greens WA spokesperson for the Mining and Pastoral Region, today condemned the Grylls-Barnett decision to hand over the right to develop 13,400 hectares of prime Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project land to Kimberley Agricultural Investment, an Australian company wholly owned by the Chinese real estate company Shanghai Zhongfu.

“This is a curious decision, not least because Shanghai Zhongfu is a construction and real estate company, with no experience in agricultural ventures,” Mr Chapple said.

“Far from being used to grow food, as has been suggested for years by Mr Barnett and Mr Grylls, almost the entire Ord irrigation area will now be dedicated to growing sugar, exporting sugar and producing sugar-based products such as ethanol and fibre board. So much for the much touted ‘food bowl’.

“To allocate large tracts of land to foreign investors above the interests of Australian companies, which are likely to yield little, if any, food or financial dividends to the Western Australian community is ludicrous. It can hardly be called a ‘local’ economy stimulation package.

“The Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project has cost Australian taxpayers more than $500million, the vast majority of which has been Royalties for Regions funding.

“Shanghai Zhongfu has been awarded a 50-year lease at a peppercorn rent of the new Ord Expansion Project area that was developed with taxpayers’ money.

“In encouraging broad-scale monoculture, this government is not working towards Australia’s food security, nor promoting local growth and resilience.

“It is allowing a project largely dependent on public money to be wholly controlled by foreign investment. What good is this to the Western Australian people? A few jobs here and there are hardly worth the millions spent on the development of this scheme.”


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