Greens (WA) move to solve toxic herbicide mystery

October 17, 2002 - Robin Chapple MLC has warned proponents of the proposed Coral Coast Marina on Ningaloo Reef that the Greens (WA) are still committed to scrapping the project and pursuing sustainable alternatives, despite a cautious EPA recommendation that the tourist resort could proceed only if “considerable Government resources' are directed at blunting the inevitable environmental impacts.

“It is extremely alarming that the taxpayer is being asked to deal with the legacy this proposal is going to create,' Mr Chapple said.

The EPA is clearly foreshadowing a significant Government subsidy to the developers, because CCMD will be incapable of managing the impacts of their resort on the reef.

“I can't imagine the public will be very impressed when they realise we are subsidising this enormously risky venture. Almost no-one wants to see Ningaloo blighted with this kind of development.'

“There was never much chance of the EPA recommending flatly against the proposal,' Mr Chapple said, “but they are clearly ringing alarm bells over the risks associated with the marina.'

“The EPA was established to approve projects, subject to conditions. It is not in their mandate to stop environmentally harmful proposals, just to suggest improvements. They are simply acting in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act . ' In their own words:

“Environmental impact assessment is aimed at resolving questions of “how to' manage planning schemes and development proposals so that the environment is protected rather than to say “yes' or “no'.

...In Western Australia, less than 1% of the proposals assessed each year are found to be unacceptable because the environmental impact cannot be managed.'

“A Guide to Environmental Impact Assessment in Western Australia, EPA 1998'

“ I would suggest in the case of Ningaloo Reef, the community is saying that's simply not good enough. We don't want to watch the owners of the resort attempting and then failing to “manage' a whole range of destructive impacts on Ningaloo. The focus now shifts to Government, which will come under sustained pressure to stop the resort and devote resources to more sustainable and ecologically sensitive planning processes.

“The campaign will keep gathering momentum until the Government gets this message.'

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