History Sold to the Highest Bidder - Burrup

Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett welcomed the announcement by Burrup Nitrates Pty Ltd that it had made a final investment decision to proceed with building a technical ammonium nitrate plant at an estimated investment of US$800million today.

This open-armed welcome can only be seen as a symbol of the hold of the mining and resources industry on our political representatives, when just a few years ago that self-same Minister was calling for an end to development on the Burrup Peninsula.

Greens WA spokesperson for Aboriginal Issues expressed his disappointment in a Government willing to override the cultural value of a place to preserve the growth of industry.

“This to me smacks of utter hypocrisy,” Mr Chapple said.

“Just six short years ago I heard Colin Barnett read into Parliament a heartfelt speech on the value and significance of the rock art on the Burrup Peninsula. At the time he called it ‘The most significant heritage and anthropological site in Australia’. He called on the Government to ‘forget other areas of the Burrup Peninsula where it proposes to develop new sites’.

Fast forward six years and we have that same Minister welcoming big, damaging, polluting industry into the area, a vulnerable area on which, by Colin Barnett’s own admission, as much as ‘20 to 25 per cent’ of the rock art has already been destroyed,” said Mr Chapple.

At the time Premier Barnett penned his speech he alluded to a study showing that some 4,700 carvings had already been destroyed in the process of industrial development. The Burrup is a unique cultural landscape and a place of great importance to Australia and the world. 

“I consider it a tragic moment when even those who have spoken in the past with great integrity on the value of cultural heritage can be bought off by industry interests and swayed by political pressure. This heralds the death of the conviction politician.” 


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

Go to top