State Development & Industry

State Development & Industry

Greens welcome Auditor-General’s PUPP investigation

Thursday, 5 February
Greens member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC has welcomed news that WA’s Auditor-General will investigate the much-maligned Pilbara Underground Power Project (PUPP).
The project was expected to cost $130 million and be finished by 2014 with a projected cost to ratepayers, through the introduction of a council levy, of $21 million; an average contribution of $3,300.
The budget for PUPP has since blown out to more than $230 million and the ratepayers of Karratha, not the state government, are being forced to pay the higher than anticipated costs.
Mr Chapple said he hoped the Auditor-General’s findings would exonerate the Karratha ratepayers of paying for the government’s mistakes.
“The whole Pilbara Underground Power Project has become a bit of a shambles really,” he said.
“It was initiated to combat the power outages Pilbara residents are faced with each year during cyclone season, however the whole Northwest is fed via massive 220kv overhead transmission lines that span the Pilbara coastline.
“The last power outage, caused by Cyclone Christine in December last year, happened because one of these transmission lines was brought down and had nothing to do with the power network of Karratha and other Pilbara towns.
Mr Chapple said the former local government had not been able to be clear to the residents about the costs of the project to be borne by them.
“Residents weren’t adequately consulted, they were just told it was happening and that they would be charged a council levy,” he said.
“I don’t necessarily disagree with sinking the power in major centres across the Pilbara as an added safety net, but this budget blowout has nearly doubled the cost of the project.
“It is simply outrageous that Karratha ratepayers should have to pay for the mistakes of horizon power and the state government.”
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.

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.

Dangerous Climate Change Rhetoric Becoming Normalised in Australian Discourse

Thursday, 13 November

Whilst it is positive to see climate change becoming a more visible issue of late it is alarming to see fossil fuel and nuclear lobbyists leading the rhetoric on how best to tackle it, according to WA Greens Spokesperson on Energy and Climate Change Robin Chapple MLC.

The Business Council of Australia and the Australia Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) have been vocal this week about the benefits, and necessity of, energy reform that includes primarily a greater reliance on gas.

Similarly, the World Nuclear Association has used the International Energy Agency’s world energy outlook report to preach the benefits of nuclear energy as a low-carbon, cost-effective means of producing electricity.

Mr Chapple said these big lobbying groups were jumping on the bandwagon to push for reform that benefitted their industry, but was not in any way a solution.

“These big lobbying groups, who exist purely for the benefit of their industries, have suddenly adopted climate change into their rhetoric,” he said.

“It’s frightening because what they are saying is very misleading, but attempts to be convincing.

Mr Chapple said repeated claims about gas as a clean energy alternative were polluting the information around climate change in Australian politics.

“I just fail to see the logic that these are ‘solutions’ to increasing emissions in Australia,” he said.

“These lobbyists have somehow managed to normalise the idea that replacing finite fossil fuel resources with different, but equally finite, fossil fuel resources is a sustainable and beneficial solution.

“The idea that renewable energy investment is not economically viable needs to be trashed; it is absolute rubbish.

“Why are we, as a nation, so determined not to be a world leader when we have so much potential to be so.”

Mr Chapple said he continued to be amazed by the general indifference, and even open resistance, towards renewable energy by both State and Federal Governments.

“I urge politicians to shake off this attitude of ‘ignorance is bliss’ and really make some noise so that those in power have no choice but to change,” he said.

‘Dialogue on the issue is completely under the spell of industry and lobbyists at the moment when the last thing we need in this country is more gas or worse, an uptake of nuclear power especially given the amazing potential we have for renewable energy generation in this country.”


WA unlikely to ever go 100% renewable: Premier

Friday, October 31

WA Greens Spokesperson for energy and climate change Robin Chapple MLC has expressed disappointment over comments made by the Premier yesterday about the future of renewable energy in Western Australia.

On 720 ABC talkback radio yesterday Premier Colin Barnett claimed Western Australia would be unlikely to ever go 100% renewable and that renewable energy was incompatible with heavy industry and WA’s rail system.

Mr Chapple said whilst he was not surprised by the Premier’s attitude, the dismissive nature of his comments was alarming.

“Western Australia is going backwards under this luddite government,” he said.

“Since when did politicians become so short-sighted? We are talking about a resource that is absolutely finite.

“Climate change is not a phase, or a minor issue that has been over-hyped by alarmists or an issue that will simply pass.

“We, quite simply, are not doing anywhere near enough to reverse the damage we have already done and put in places processes and infrastructure to ensure the future energy needs of Western Australia indefinitely.

“That our own Premier, who rambles so consistently about our future economic security, is failing to see the link between that and ultimately, once the infrastructure is established, an energy network that will pay for itself is simply unfathomable.”

Mr Chapple said Australia, particularly Western Australia, was in danger of being rapidly left behind by the rest of the world.

“At the risk of sounding like a broken record, how many more flashing neon signs do we need?” he said.

“The price of coal is falling worldwide and some of our biggest trading partners, especially China, are slashing imports as well, meanwhile we are seeing a surge in renewable uptake especially in developing nations and throughout Europe.

“I’m not talking about weak, decade-by-decade targets such as the one our federal government is planning to gut – it is crucial that we establish long-term targets that legislate for a significant swing towards renewable energy and away from fossil fuel dependence.

“The Premier’s claims that his government ‘has actually put a lot of money into renewable energy’ are baseless as are his claims that we, as a state, with all of our heavy industry, are not compatible with a totally renewable energy system.”

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

Cumulative Environmental Effects of Intense Mining in the Pilbara Acknowledged

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Environmental Protection Authority has released a report that begrudgingly acknowledges the cumulative impacts of mining in the Pilbara after years of pressure to do so from both the Greens and non-government groups.

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC said cumulative environmental impacts from the kind of condensed mining happening in the Pilbara should have been obvious a long time ago.

“If you have an area, like the Pilbara, where there is a host of mining operations underway simultaneously then of course you are going to see a much greater environmental impact,” he said.

“I have maintained for over a decade that this kind of intense mining would have excessive and cumulative environmental impacts on the region.

“That is has taken this long to acknowledge the damage being done to the Pilbara really drives home this government’s priorities; economy at any cost.”

Mr Chapple said acknowledging the cumulative impacts of mining throughout the Pilbara should be taken as a step towards fixing the problem.

“I really hope the information in this report is used in a positive way,” he said.

“We should be looking at ways to improve the rehabilitation of mine sites and the life of existing mine’s rather than dodgy approvals for new mines every other day.

“For example, joint usage and managed railway systems throughout the Pilbara would go a long way towards lessening the cumulative impacts of mining.

“Ultimately, and thanks to some of the information that has come out under the current government, I would like to see the processes for environmental approval in this state totally overhauled.”

A copy of the report can be found here.

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.

Government Plans to Sell Out WA’s Prime Agricultural Land

Monday, 13 October 2014

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC has called on Premier Colin Barnett to intercede in a controversial new proposal to open up part of the state’s prime agricultural land in the South West to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Oil and gas companies have been asked to bid for the right to explore across an area between Busselton and the suburban outskirts of Bunbury including the farming communities of Donnybrook, Capel and Dardanup.

Mr Chapple said it was madness to even consider putting the state’s most valuable agricultural land at risk.

“I am utterly appalled at the carelessness of these actions taken by the state government,” he said.

“Hydraulic fracturing in the South West carries a very real risk of contaminating vital groundwater reserves used by primary producers.

“This proposal also has the potential to strip farmers of their property rights as under current legislation they might not be able to stop mining companies exploring on their properties.

“I call on the Premier to step up and oppose this proposal in the same way he did to protect the wine production and tourism value of Margaret River earlier this year in the wake of a proposed coal mining development.”

Mr Chapple said recent data from the California State Water Resources Control Board confirmed that hydraulic fracturing exploration had contaminated aquifers above maximum contaminant levels.

“If this government continues to approach fracking exploration with such reckless abandon we’ll see the same sort of thing happen here,” he said.

“This government’s vision for the future of WA is one of a desolate wasteland incapable of supporting life in any form.”

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

Karratha Health Campus a Recipe for Disaster

Wednesday 17 September

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC has criticised the planned location for the new Karratha Health Campus, at which earthworks have already begun, as irresponsible and totally ignorant of climate facts.

Mr Chapple said it was irresponsible to base the safety of the site on 500-year storm surge data as this system did not take into account climate change.

“This is fundamentally a bad site to build a hospital,” he said.

“We have seen, and will continue to see, an exponential increase in climatic events throughout Western Australia.

“These climatic events are changing swiftly in their nature, becoming more extreme and less predictable.

“In the case of an extreme weather event the hospital, the lifeline for all those people affected, will be the first building to be wiped out; it’s completely exposed.”

Mr Chapple said the government should be taking every precaution with new infrastructure in Karratha if it wanted to maintain the long-term sustainability of the city.

“Just 2000 years ago this whole North side of town, all the way to the hills, was completely under water,” he said.

“Climate change is fact, we will continue to see an increase in the frequency and severity of weather events in Northern Australia, and we will almost certainly see a rise in sea levels.

“Only when governments and councils acknowledge and properly address the rapidly approaching doom will we have any chance of managing and mitigating its effects.”

Mr Chapple also said the site’s location was worrying because of its proximity to the ill-fated Pelago towers.

“There is speculation about the stability of the ground at the site,” he said.

“In particular, we are trying to ascertain whether the Pelago towers 1 and 2 are settling and what effects this could have on both the towers themselves and any new infrastructure, such as the proposed health campus.”

A report released today by The Climate Council, titled ‘Counting the Costs: Climate Change and Coastal Flooding’, has outlined more clearly than ever before the potential fiscal impacts of climate change on coastal populations.

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


Subscribe to RSS - State Development & Industry
Go to top