Aboriginal Affairs & Heritage

Aboriginal Issues

WA Greens warn of pending remote community closures if funding feud not resolved

Tuesday, 9th October 2018

The Greens (WA) have warned that remote communities may be closed if a stable funding solution is not agreed to by the state and federal governments.

As the feud between the McGowan Government and the Liberal Federal Government continues, Greens MP Robin Chapple said that the uncertainty in communities was causing unrest and anxiety.

“What is concerning is that the unwillingness to fund remote housing and services is creating circumstances similar to those that were used to announce the closure of communities by the previous Barnett Government,” Mr Chapple said.

“There are 1350 houses that must be built in WA over the next decade and the Federal Government has walked away from a decades-long funding arrangement. It’s shameful.

“It’s also a matter of service provision to these remote areas, which is costly but an absolute necessity for keeping these communities running.

“We know that many remote communities don’t have access to safe drinking water, with uranyl-nitrate contamination affecting renal health in several areas. So far there has been a complete unwillingness from the State Government to address this.

“The Greens have got a Bill in the WA Parliament that would prevent the closure of communities without permission. The real danger is that as services stop being provided, communities will close by default which is exactly the kind of practice our Bill seeks to prevent.

“It’s clear that the Morrison Government doesn’t give a toss about remote communities.

Media Contact: Liam Carter – 0449 151 490


Damage to rock art on Burrup ignored by Labor in favour of industry: Greens MP

Thursday, 16th August 2018

Greens MP Robin Chapple has labelled claims by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson that industry and ancient Aboriginal rock art can coexist on the Burrup Peninsula as ridiculous.

Despite dramatically changing PH levels visibly damaging the Aboriginal heritage rock art, the Labor Government continues to blindly insist that increased industrial presence on the Burrup is not having an impact.

“What the Minister’s comments show is that this Labor Government will always put their ties with big business over environmental and heritage concerns,” Greens MP Robin Chapple said.

“The very fact that the Maitland Industrial Estate is gazetted and ready to host industry appears to have been lost on this government, who continue to blindly insist that this rock art is not being damaged despite evidence showing otherwise.

“We can have industry, we can have the benefits that it creates, but there is no good reason for this Government to continue on in the face of reason when there is a perfectly suitable, gazetted industrial estate with environmental approvals on the mainland ready for development.

“Make no mistake: The Greens support World Heritage Listing for the Burrup Peninsula, and the Labor Party’s actions are a roadblock to achieving this important goal.

“Minister Dawson needs to come to the table and show that he wants to help achieve World Heritage Listing for the Burrup. Saying you support it is one thing, but when you are supporting heavy industry that is visibly damaging this incredible heritage, the Government loses credibility in this space.

“This Government has dodged Freedom of Information requests, dodged questions, and is trying to dodge responsibility for their actions – well we won’t let them get away with it.

“These claims that industry can coexist with rock art on the Burrup don’t stack up.”

Media contact: Liam Carter – 0449 151 490

State Government remote community investment mustn’t stop at Tjuntjuntjurra: The Greens (WA)

Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Greens (WA) have welcomed the State government’s recent $23.8 million investment into Tjuntjuntjurra remote community, citing it as a positive step forward in dealing with a worsening remote community water crisis.


 Spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs, Robin Chapple MLC, said it was an encouraging sign that the government was starting to listen to expert advice and community concerns, but that contamination issues don’t stop at Tjuntjuntjurra.


The upgrade comes after consistent efforts by Kalgoorlie paediatrician, Dr Christine Jeffries-Stokes to inform two separate state governments of a fast emerging renal health epidemic.


“Dr Stokes’ research has shown that water contamination doesn’t just stop at Tjuntjuntjurra; there are at least 11 other Goldfields communities exhibiting dangerously high levels of Uranyl Nitrate,” Mr Chapple said.

“Water contamination cannot be addressed in one instance, leaving many remote residents stranded and concerned for the wellbeing of their children.

“I applaud Dr Stokes for her tireless work on remote community renal health, which ultimately led to this life-saving investment, but we mustn’t stop here.


“Access to potable water is a basic human right and WA Labor need to start looking at all other remote Goldfields communities, as a matter of priority, in order to curb  this health epidemic.


“The previous Barnett Liberal government demonstrated astounding negligence on this issue.  I now compel the current Labor government to learn from this failure, and make up for lost time.


Government tries to dodge Freedom of Information over Burrup development

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Greens Mining and Pastoral MP Robin Chapple will challenge the outcome of a Freedom of Information application to the WA Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Information after receiving nine all but completely blanked out pages.

“I have seen large redactions in FoI responses before but this is next-level. This was a routine FoI request, yet the Government is going to unprecedented lengths to keep the details of industrialisation in the North a secret,” Mr Chapple said.

“My original request sought all correspondence between the Department and the proponents of Coogee Methanol Plant and Perdaman Karratha Urea Plant, which was a standard FoI request in terms of scope.

“In May, the Department told me the request would result in too many documents, so I agreed at their urging to amend my application to just the ‘record of any discussion’ between the companies and the Department. 

“The result: nine pages of meeting minutes with all the minutes blanked out – just leaving two meeting dates in May and November 2017 and a list of government agencies who attended along with Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation.

“I will appeal this outcome and reinstate the terms of my original FoI request. This experience does make me wonder if the Department has something to hide.”

Mr Chapple made the FoI application after a briefing note by the Department to the Premier dated April 2018 was leaked. The document purported to warn that timing of World Heritage listing for the Burrup was ‘critical’ as there would be a reluctance for new industries to locate to the Peninsula once the listing had gone ahead.

  • Photo of Robin Chapple with the blank pages attached.

Media Contact: Liam Carter – 0449 151 490


Taxpayers cop fracking costs in Pilbara

Monday 18 June 2018

Seismic surveys in a remote area of the Pilbara announced today by the Mines and Petroleum Minister are effectively a subsidy for fracking companies, Mining and Pastoral MLC Robin Chapple says.

“Once again the Minister is undermining the moratorium on fracking in WA, this time by spending taxpayers’ money on survey work designed to help oil and gas companies,” Mr Chapple said.

“The Minister is making it look as if the McGowan Government has already made up its mind about fracking and will open up the Kimberley and possibly the Pilbara to invasive gasfields such as those we have seen in Queensland and the US.

“Governments and states across the world have banned fracking and the ALP agreed to ban fracking in the Southwest, Peel and Perth because of the risks to tourism, horticulture and amenity.

“Just because there are fewer people in the Kimberley and Pilbara, it doesn’t mean the country is ‘empty’ and can be sacrificed.

“The opposite is true: Traditional Owners are on country all the time carrying out cultural practices and getting traditional foods.

“The Labor Party promised veto rights for Traditional Owners at the election but we haven’t heard anything more: instead, we have heard a lot from the Minister about promoting and subsidising fracking companies.”

Media Contact: Liam Carter – 0449 151 490

Greens welcome Custody Notification Service for WA, but further progress needed

Monday, 21 May 2018

The Greens (WA) have welcomed a commitment by the State and Federal governments to introduce a 24-hour legal hotline in WA aimed at reducing deaths in custody, which was campaigned for by the Greens.

Under the program, which has been used successfully in NSW since 2000 to drive down deaths in custody, police will be mandated to telephone the Aboriginal Legal Service whenever an Aboriginal person is taken in into custody. 

“I wrote to Premier McGowan a year ago urging him to pursue the introduction of the Custody Notification Service in WA after former Premer Colin Barnett claimed a legal requirement for police to make the call was unnecessary,” Greens WA Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“In 2016, the Federal Government offered to fund Custody Notification Services for states that wanted to roll out the scheme. When this money was offered to WA, former Premier Barnett said that current services were ‘sufficient’.

“Services that fail to drive down the high rate of Aboriginal deaths in custody are not sufficient by any measure. It is great to see WA is finally committing to it.”

Greens Mining and Pastoral MLC Robin Chapple MLC said:

“When Miss Dhu died in custody in South Hedland Police Station in 2014 she had no one to turn to. Had she had been listened to, her tragic death would likely have been avoided.

"The commitment to introduce the Custody Notification Service is an important step forward, yet a further important protection for Aboriginal people in custody would be to reinstall regionally-based ALS services that were gutted by the Barnett Government."

Media Contact: Liam Carter – 0449 151 490

Greens lock horns with McGowan over Burrup ‘betrayal’

Friday, 20th April 2018

The Greens (WA) have slammed the Premier over the Labor Government’s decision to allow two new industrial projects on the Burrup Peninsula.

The Burrup, which is home to the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal rock art dating back 40,000 years, is overseen by the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation which recently started working with the McGowan Government on securing World Heritage Listing through UNESCO for the Burrup Peninsula and Archipelago.

“This is a deceitful government, who have led traditional owners on while simultaneously working with big business to trash any chance of achieving World Heritage for this site,” said The Greens (WA) spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs Robin Chapple MLC.

“No one saw this coming, because Mark McGowan had previously indicated that he would work with traditional owners. He’s thrown that consultative, evidenced based approach out of the window in return for a quick fix for his mates in industry.

“What this has shown is that you cannot trust Labor. We have multiple reports showing that industry on the Burrup is degrading the rock art, so why on earth is the government seeking two new industrial projects for this sensitive area when the Maitland estate down the road is perfectly suitable?

“Mark McGowan had his fingers crossed behind his back when he started negotiating on World Heritage Listing.

“People can be assured that The Greens will be fighting this every step of the way in the parliament and in the community.

Media Contact: Liam Carter – 0449 151 490



Subscribe to RSS - Aboriginal Affairs & Heritage
Go to top