Iron ore proposal not credible: Greens

September 13, 2002 - The major parties last night voted to exclude local government and the wider public from making comment on the proposed Iron Ore Processing (Mineralogy Pty Ltd) Agreement Bill 2001, which concerns the proposed Austeel DRI plant at Cape Preston.

In a crucial motion on referral of the Bill to a Committee (which would have had a mandate to take submissions from the local government authority and Pilbara residents), the Liberal and National Parties voted with the Government, leaving the Greens (WA) and One Nation without the numbers to win the vote.

“State Agreement Acts are a short-sighted legislative blunt instrument which should be phased out. That the Government is considering signing over a significant State resource to this less-than-transparent company based out of Queensland is a decision we cannot support. Last night I attempted to give the bill some public exposure and was defeated by a Government which is acting in direct opposition to its own policy on sustainability,' Mr Chapple said.

“The Government has said it wants to subject proposals to a sustainability assessment, which would look at the economic, social and economic wisdom of any given proposal. This project clearly fails all three of these tests, and yet the Government is pandering to the proponents at the expense of the people who will be most directly impacted – the residents, and their elected representatives on Council.'

As with other State Agreements, the Act will make it impossible for the Shire to levy rates on the development. It is also proposed to be a fly-in fly-out operation, on an as-yet undisturbed stretch of coast, in an area of high significance to local Aboriginal people. “I've tried to find something to like about the project, and I'm afraid I can't,' Mr Chapple said. “It's a dud.'

The EPA has raised significant concerns about the Greenhouse impacts of the proposal, which will be one of the largest point-source CO 2 emitters in the country. The company has objected to the EPA's recommendations and is treating the agency with disdain.

“I predict that this proposal will fall in a heap, just like Oakajee and Ord Stage II, leaving the Agency responsible – the Office of Major Projects – with egg on its face again.'

“I don't think the proposal is credible, and I'm amazed that the Government is bending over backwards to prop it up.'

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