COUNCIL—Thursday, 23 June 2011


HON ROBIN CHAPPLE(Mining and Pastoral)[10.21 am] — without notice:I move —

That this Council criticises the Barnett–Grylls government for failing to commit to genuine protection of the Kimberley, and for demonstrating that it clearly prioritises industrialisation over the appropriate protection and the sustainable economic development of the Kimberley.

In speaking to the motion, I want to refer to a comments reported by the Australian Associated Press of 22 June that refer to Barnett telling protesters to move on. It states —

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says protesters blockading the site of a proposed $30 billion gas hub in the Kimberley should “move on” now they’ve made their point.

He said that he respected the right of protesters to express their view and the issues facing the traditional owners. He went on to say —

It will be the only site in the Kimberley where there will be liquified natural gas. It will not be industrialisation of the Kimberley as some people like to pretend,

I think most people in Western Australia believe we should be allowing a very limited development in one small part of the Kimberley,

Today I am going to identify why that is wrong. Before I do, I want to say that the small group of protesters who are on the Manari Road are there in support of a gentleman called Joseph Roe, the son of Paddy Roe. The historic records of the 1970s and 1980s show that all matters in the area were referred to Paddy Roe as the spokesperson for that area. This occurred even in July 1989 when an application was made by a mining town in the region. A letter from what was the Western Australian Museums reads —

Your request was discussed by the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee … Having considered several options available to this Department to ensure the protection of Aboriginal sites in the area while allowing you to use the land the Committee decided that Mining Lease MLO4/81 should not be excised from the Proposed Protected area,

This proposed protected area never eventuated but the site was declared. Prior to becoming a member of this place this time, I did a lot of work for the mining industry. One of the first things a major corporation does when looking at development is undertake ground survey work. It looks at who the pastoralist is and at the land tenure. Then the corporation goes to the Department of Indigenous Affairs to look at the sites register. It appears that neither Woodside nor the government went to DIA, where they would have discovered that the area was covered by an Aboriginal heritage site, which is referred to as Walmadan site ID13076. On seeing something like that, people in the industry would immediately go to the traditional owners and say, “We wish to disturb your site and therefore we seek permission to do so.” Then under section 18 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act, an application is made seeking permission to use that ground for whatever purposes. That goes before the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee for decision making. Guess what? Woodside, one of the best corporations in Western Australia, missed a fundamental tenet of its requirements, and failed to lodge a section 18 application for Walmadan site ID13076. Earlier this month, on 15 June, I wrote to the Registrar of Aboriginal Heritage Sites and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs asking why a section 18 application had not been lodged. My understanding is that, as we speak, members of the department are at the site trying to ascertain why that was the case.

The site has been well known for years because, historically, it has been on the register for a very long time, and, as we have seen from the former registrar, Vera Novak, there were concerns about the site even back in the 1980s. The site is one of a series that runs along the Lurujarri Heritage Trail, which runs from Rubibi, which is Broome, up to Minarringy, which is Coulomb Point. It is interesting to go through this process. I think we need to realise that, indeed, Indigenous people in the Kimberley are becoming very concerned about the opening up of the Kimberley for industrialisation.

I would like to now refer to a comment made by Dr Anne Poelina, a traditional owner of Mardoowarra, who recently said —

There is no leadership from government, state or commonwealth and the deficit approach to Indigenous economic development is enshrined in the policy “get a mine” and you will all be “closing the gap”

This is one of the things that Indigenous people are faced with. They are not being provided with the services that are needed for communities but are having to sell some of their land or to do deals. She went on to say —

while governments “close their back to the opportunities my people have been building for the past 10 years”.

With that she refers to the burgeoning tourist industry and individual economic development programs that have been put in place by Indigenous people right across the Kimberley. We need to have some respect for what is going on at James Price Point on the Minari road. It is a group of people supporting traditional owners in stopping Woodside as best they can from entering their country.

I attended the fourth annual Kimberley energy resources development conference on 9 and 10 May 2011 at Cable Beach, Broome. It is important to report on some salient points, and I go back to what the Premier said: “It will not be industrialisation of the Kimberley as some people like to pretend.” I refer to a number of papers that were presented, including a paper on government initiatives and mineral project approvals for the Kimberley. That paper was presented by Dr Ivor Roberts, the chief executive director of the mineral titles division at the Department of Mines and Petroleum. He started by saying that the Kimberley is a world-class mineral province waiting to be developed. He also identified the Canning Basin as a world-class shale gas and coal reserve waiting to be tapped. He considered that uranium was a significant untouched resource in the Kimberley, and went on to identify how the state was negotiating with the federal government to access the uranium reserves in the defence land around Oombagoomba and the Yampi uranium deposit. He spoke glowingly of the Mitchell Plateau bauxite resources as another untouched major resource of the state. He praised the National Party for having initiated the drilling assistance program for the mining sector with funding of $80 million over five years, and identified that it had been useful in proving up the Myroodah uranium deposit located on the western side of the Fitzroy River in the flood plain area some 210 kilometres south of Broome. He referred to the commitment from government to continue to improve the approvals time line and to develop the DMP as a single portal for all avenues. A major obstacle, in the government’s view, was the continued time taken to negotiate with the traditional owners. It is the government’s intention to bring this process down from the current average of 18 months to a minimum of six months. He also identified many other things.

Michelle Andrews, the executive director of state initiatives at the Department of State Development—she was with the Environmental Protection Authority until a few weeks ago—gave an update on the opportunities of developing Western Australian resources and the issues around the Browse Basin liquefied natural gas precinct. She identified that the problems of economic, heritage, social and environmental outcomes needed to be addressed. She touched on the uniqueness of the proposal and identified that social disadvantage, wilderness values and tendered development were going to be problems. It is really interesting to note that, while all this is going on, and we are moving bulldozers onto country, we are still waiting for two approvals. We are still waiting for the state to approve the development under its approval processes through the EPA, and we are still waiting for a federal government determination. Michelle Andrews went on to say that, although the Premier said quite clearly in the Australian Associated Press report of 22 June 2011 that there would be no other liquefied natural gas facilities, the government had already received expressions of interest from other proponents looking to co-locate at the James Price Point site. Is the department right or is the Premier right? I suggest that the department is right, because the Department of State Development has always been right, and successive governments, right back to the Court era, have been led by the nose to a degree by the Department of State Development.

Nicole Roocke, the director of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, also spoke briefly and said that there were opportunities for the mining sector in the Kimberley as a result of the JPP decision. She did, however, express concerns about the corollary to Karratha, as rising house prices in the region were going to be an issue for the mining industry and would hamper quick development. She also stated that the chamber was providing advice to the Australian Heritage Council over the conflicts associated with heritage issues versus industry and the mining sector.

Quite clearly, the Department of State Development has an agenda, and we can track that agenda back to August 2005, when a report titled “Regional Minerals Program: Developing the West Kimberley’s Resources” was written. In 2005, we had most of the projects we know about at the moment—the bauxite at the Mitchell Plateau, the coal in the Canning Basin and the uranium at Oombagoomba in Derby. We also had many other projects. Even coal gasification is now being considered just outside Derby. Again, we are facing the industrialisation of the Kimberley. It is interesting to note that, even though the Premier recently made some statements about the Point Torment development going on the backburner, Guangzhou Dredging Co Ltd, a Chinese dredging company, is negotiating with the Shire of Derby over dredging in the area of Point Torment. That comes from the minutes of the shire. We are looking at the industrialisation of the area, which gives me great concern.

It is also interesting to note that, at the same time as we have been talking about the recent initiative by Hon Bill Marmion, the Minister for Environment, to commit $63 million over five years for the planning and implementation of a strategy for the Kimberley, the government has allocated $111 million over five years to assist the Browse Basin precinct. I wonder whether the government actually knows what the Department of State Development is planning for the area. We now have the proposed development of a copper mine at the Horizontal Waterfalls, and a number of leases have been taken out over that area. Indeed, I have asked questions about why the mining company may have been lighting fires in that area for the past five years without a licence. I have asked the Minister for Police in the other chamber why no further action was taken against the people lighting those fires when the fires were reported to the police in Derby and Broome and why no action was taken after an investigation was carried out.

A group of people who I believe have significant reference to that country through traditional ownership are being supported by a large number of Broome residents who are concerned about the industrialisation and development of the Kimberley in a way that is reminiscent of Noonkanbah. At Noonkanbah, a number of Aboriginal people and their supporters blocked access to bulldozers. In those days, under the government of Premier Sir Charles Court, the police and the Army were sent in to assist the American drilling company to push through those protesters. It is interesting that, in that instance, the protesters came after the decisions had been made. In this case, protesters are trying to protect the country and prevent Woodside from doing work on country when no approvals have yet been given for the project to go ahead. I visited Manari Road and the camp site, and I visited the protesters, as has my colleague Senator Scott Ludlam. What I found was not the atypical group of people one might find in the forests, but a group of residents of Broome representing the whole range of that community standing strong, along with Indigenous people, to try to stop the development of that area. Indeed, the original site records show that skeletal material exists in that area, as well as those other aspects I mentioned; therefore, I believe that due process should have been gone through before we even got to this stage. As I said, in the work that I used to do for the industry, one of the first things a consultant did was to go round and check what was on country. We think that this is the thin end of the wedge. The government initiatives and mineral project approvals in the Kimberley, which were itemised in Broome the other day, make a lie of the Premier’s statement that there is to be no industrialisation of the Kimberley.

HON NORMAN MOORE(Mining and Pastoral — Leader of the House)[10.41 am]: I thank Hon Robin Chapple for raising this matter today. It is about time we had a discussion about this, but I think that we should have a sensible discussion about this matter.

I have been reading a book called Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist by Patrick Moore, who was here recently. It is fascinating how he describes the processes that Greenpeace now uses but did not use for the first 15 years of its existence. I suggest the member might read the sections of the book that relate to propaganda and dogma and those sections that describe the political purposes of Greenpeace as opposed to its environmental purposes. He will discover that Greenpeace is—I suspect those Green members of Parliament in this house are as well—fundamentally anti-development, anti-jobs and, as he quite often states in his book, anti-people. Greenpeace actually does not like people. Looking at the sort of language the member used in his motion, we can see that he uses the same tactics that Greenpeace has been using, which Patrick Moore is very critical of.

The member uses words such as industrialisation; therefore, the creation of a liquefied natural gas plant in the Kimberley is the industrialisation of the Kimberley. Let us just put a few things in the proper context. The Kimberley is 425 000 square kilometres and the James Price Point LNG precinct will be about 3 000 hectares. If members do their sums, they will work out that the LNG precinct at James Price Point is 0.005 per cent of the land mass of the Kimberley. Indeed, it is actually only 1.5 per cent of the native title claim area that is part of this debate. This is not the industrialisation of the Kimberley at all; it is the creation of one project on the Kimberley coast that takes up 3 000 hectares of an area of more than 400 000 square kilometres. That sort of language, that propaganda and that dogma is what Patrick Moore describes as the way in which the Greens tend to get their message across and fundamentally engage in scaremongering of the worst sort. The speech we heard today is the same. The language Hon Robin Chapple used is identical to the sort of language that Patrick Moore described Greenpeace as using on a regular basis to frighten people. I was interested to hear the way in which the member described Ivor Roberts’ speech in Broome. The member said he spoke in glowing terms about something or other. That is the member’s interpretation, but Dr Roberts happens to be an employee of the department that I have responsibility for. His job is to ensure that people understand the mineral potential of Western Australia so that they can then go through the processes of seeking approval to mine if they want to.

There are processes that people have to go through if they want to mine in Western Australia. If somebody wants to mine something in the Kimberley, Margaret River or wherever else, they have to go through processes and those processes may well decline the mining application. These are proper processes that the member finds very acceptable when they provide a determination that he agrees with, but when the member does not agree with the outcome of those processes, he has to find another argument. In the last little while the traditional owners of this area voted in favour of the James Price Point development. Interestingly, the green groups said at the beginning of this debate that if the Aboriginal people agreed to the development, they would too. Now that the Aboriginal people have agreed to it, the Greens have said, “Oh, well, it’s a different story. It’s not quite the same as we thought it was in the first place, so we’ll oppose it anyway.” That is how that organisation operates.

This government made the decision to go to James Price Point after putting in a significant amount of effort and energy to find one suitable location for one LNG precinct in the Kimberley instead of half a dozen along the coast as some people might have wanted. This government wanted to contain the LNG development to one area so that we can develop the Browse Basin, which is a massive resource, which the Greens, I suspect, do not want developed. The Greens came out and opposed the Wheatstone development the other day, they opposed Gorgon and they are obviously now opposing Browse. I do not know what they expect we will use for energy in this country in the future because they oppose coal and nuclear power; all they support is this notion of renewable energy. Who is going to pay for the renewable energy to make their cups of coffee in the morning? Who will pay for that? As they all know, the price of renewable energy is significantly greater than the price of the sort of energy we now use for baseload power. However, the Greens oppose everything because, as Patrick Moore says, they are anti-people, anti-jobs and anti-development. Increasingly, we see this being played out by Green parties across Australia.

This government chose a site after extensive evaluation. The previous government was going to find somewhere, but it simply could not get around to it. Eventually, the election came and Inpex went to Darwin because it could not get a site in Western Australia. This government made the decision to go to James Price Point and now all of the processes —

Hon Robin Chappleinterjected.

Hon NORMAN MOORE: I did not interrupt the member, and I have a limited amount of time today. I wish I had four hours so that I could really go through all the issues raised.

We will now go through all the processes of the state and federal governments to get the approvals needed to develop James Price Point. Who was alongside the Premier at the signing of the first stage of James Price Point? Martin Ferguson, the federal minister, and the Kimberley Land Council were because they see this as a development for the Kimberley that will provide another dimension to the economy and employment opportunities for the people who live in the Kimberley. As members familiar with the Kimberley well know, there is a problem with employment; there are not enough jobs. The tourism industry alone will not provide the jobs needed for the future of the Kimberley. It is a very important industry but it will not provide all the opportunities that people need going forward. That is why we need some other development in the Kimberley and why, Hon Robin Chapple, we are looking at the mineral potential of the Kimberley, which may then provide other opportunities for employment, particularly for Indigenous people who desperately need jobs. However, development will take place only after the most rigorous environmental assessments have been made. That is what is happening now, that is what should happen and that will happen right throughout Western Australia.

The honourable member talked about Noonkanbah. I cannot resist responding to that very quickly. Noonkanbah was the greatest political stunt I have ever seen. It was nothing to do with the uprising of the Aboriginal people against the development; it was in fact a political strategy organised by Steven Hawke, assisted by Tom Stephens and Peter Dowding. It was a political exercise through and through. Some of the rubbish that came out of that is beyond belief. The way in which it has now gone into folklore as being some Aboriginal uprising against industrial development in the Kimberley is just not right at all. It was a political exercise organised by people who are not Aboriginal people and with the assistance of the union movement to cause what they thought was political damage for the then Sir Charles Court government. I know about these things, because I was sitting in the cabinet room when it was all taking place. That is what it was all about. In that situation, we had a sacred site that was very flexible. Indeed, at the end of the argument, it extended to the boundaries of the pastoral lease. Pastoral lease boundaries have nothing to do with Aboriginal culture; they are what Europeans have drawn on maps. That is enough of that.

To suggest that somehow this is another Noonkanbah is just another example of how the Greens try to use emotive language about an event that happened about 30 years ago and suggest that this is the same again. Read Patrick Moore’s book. Perhaps the Greens know why they are doing it, as they indulge in propaganda, exaggeration and scaremongering to try to create an environment in which nobody should be doing anything to the land because it might have some adverse effect on the environment.

We as a government have been working very hard in the Kimberley in respect of creating potential jobs for people, while putting in place the Kimberley strategy in respect of protecting the environment. The Kimberley science and conservation strategy was launched just the other day by the Premier and the Minister for Environment. A significant amount of money is being invested in the Kimberley to protect those parts of the Kimberley that must be protected—there is no argument about that. But the Greens would have it that the whole Kimberley is totally unique, and we cannot touch any of it—the whole 450 000 square kilometres. We can touch some of it, and we can have occupations and jobs, albeit that the federal government has said, “All those people who raise cattle up there—bad luck about your industry. We will just close it down overnight, regardless of the consequences that might have on the employment of people in the Kimberley and those people who rely on that industry for their wellbeing.” We are developing strategies relating to the Kimberley that we believe will properly protect those areas that must be protected; that is not only the terrestrial environment but indeed the marine environment. We are looking at about four different marine parks within the Kimberley area itself to protect those areas that need to be protected. This is the proper way to go about the development of an area like the Kimberley; that is, to look at all options and to have an open mind about what can and cannot be done, instead of having a closed mind and sitting on the road to stop the bulldozers from going ahead because they do not want anything to happen at all. That is the tragedy of the way in which the Greens operate not just in this Parliament but indeed in the federal Parliament as well.

It is a very sorry day to see a photograph in The Australian newspaper today of the new balance of power in the federal Parliament. It is scary. There is one good thing about it, however, and the federal government will know this in due course. The Greens will now have to start making decisions about what will actually happen in Australia. Instead of just being able to sit back and tell the world how wonderful they are and get on their pedestal and claim to know all there is to know about everything but never having to actually deliver anything, now, in concert with the federal Labor Party, they will have to make decisions that will affect what people do. That is a good thing, because at last people will see what they stand for. Those who take a bit of time to try to understand what the green movement is all about will come to understand that it is the “Watermelon Party”. It is not just some group of environmentalists; it is a lot of people with particular political agendas using the environmental movement as a vehicle to carry out their political agenda.

The political agenda of the Labor Party is way left of the Greens, so they should be very careful where the Greens might take them. I say to the Labor Party that it is a good idea to just disengage from the Greens, because they will cause significant damage. Labor should look after its own constituency, which is the people who work in industry, who belong to the trade union movement, who want jobs, who want development and who want economic growth. Such people support the Labor Party; it is not the sauvignon blanc, chardonnay socialists that belong to the Greens movement in Western Australia and, indeed, throughout Australia. I should have left out “chardonnay”, because they do not drink chardonnay; they are sauvignon blanc socialists.

This motion is typical of the Greens, who say, “Let’s not do anything except have sustainable economic growth”, and nobody knows what they mean by that because they never say what it is. They say what should not be done; they never say what should be done, because they do not know.

HON JON FORD(Mining and Pastoral)[10.56 am]: I rise to support the motion but for none of the reasons that Hon Robin Chapple mentioned. The Leader of the House in his response would have us believe that James Price Point went ahead on the swift judgement of the Liberal–National government upon coming to power. In fact, if we look back over history, it was nearly scuttled, because we had a Premier who decided it was definitely going to be in one place and then it was definitely going to be in another place. I think at that point he threatened compulsory acquisition, and then settled on James Price Point about a year later. In fact, the Liberal–National government could have continued with the previous Labor government’s process, which was just on the edge of being delivered.

The government would have us believe that Inpex ran off to Darwin because we held them up. The truth of the matter—the government knows it—is that Inpex could not make a decision on the size of the development. Every time it came to our government, it wanted something more or it wanted something less, and it was a problem between the Australian business and what it had committed to with its Japanese headquarters. That is the truth of the matter.

The James Price Point project would have gone ahead a lot sooner without the Premier’s intervention, and that is the fact of the matter. On top of that, he created uncertainty. That is one of the main reasons we support the motion. We do not know what the Premier is planning for the rest of the Kimberley or indeed for any of the projects. There are a lot of potential projects up there. We clearly do not know what is going to happen. Hon Robin Chapple talked about Point Torment being a supply base. In fact nobody in industry actually supports Point Torment as a supply base. The port authority does not support Point Torment. If one looks at it, it does not make sense. That is another example of the uncertainty that this government brings.

I support some of the comments of the Leader of the House. I am going to talk about James Price Point now, which, as the minister said, is a tiny, minor bit of the Kimberley. The development there was of such efficiency and scale that it would attract other proponents and mitigate against other developments in the Kimberley. Another very important reason why we support the government has to do with the Indigenous people up there. It is a contradiction in terms to say that we support economic self-determination for Aboriginal people in what they might or might not want to do on their land when —


Hon JON FORD: That is my phone! I think it is the first time ever this has happened—not that that is an excuse!

The PRESIDENT: I hope it is the last.

Hon JON FORD: Yes, Mr President.

It is a complete nonsense for those members who say that they support economic development for Indigenous people for what they might or might not want to do on their land, but because they do not like what clearly the majority of Indigenous people have decided to do with their land, somehow they have got it wrong and they are being forced into doing it. It is either their land or it is not their land, and I hate this patronising baloney. I am going to use two examples of the contradictions in the Greens’ argument. Hon Robin Chapple gave his reasons for opposing development at James Price Point, but he also opposes development on the Burrup Peninsular and at Wheatstone.

Hon Robin Chapple: No, I did not oppose the development of Wheatstone. If you read Wheatstone’s documents, I am quoted as supporting it.

Hon JON FORD: The Greens cannot have it all ways; they either support development or they do not. I am interested now that Hon Robin Chapple says that he supports Wheatstone, but the Greens oppose the Gorgon and Burrup developments. Recently, in the local content rally out the front of Parliament House, where there were thousands of people talking about jobs and trying to get the most out of those developments, Hon Alison Xamon got up and said that it was good to see that the Labor Party had finally caught up with the Greens in supporting local content and local jobs. At least the member did not say that the Labor Party did not support any development as its bottom line! I remember in this house when the Leader of the House asked Hon Giz Watson to name a beach or piece of coastline on which she would allow a mineral sands development, and the member could not answer.

Hon Giz Watson: Mineral sands is a pretty destructive activity.

Hon JON FORD: There we go! The member gives the house another reason. Let me tell members about these protesters. Hon Robin Chapple is right that these protestors up at James Price Point are an eclectic group of people. They include a bunch of business people in the ecotourism industry, who are saying, under the banner of environmental protection, “Let us protect this pristine coast.” What they are actually doing, which I would not mind if they would actually say it, is trying to protect their thousand-dollar a day per person ecotourism businesses. What I really find offensive is that when real traditional owners go up there carrying out their lawful business they are being spat on, assaulted, sworn at and abused—this is on film—by these people, who are not locals. There are around four groups of people, and most people would agree that three of them are carrying out their lawful right to protest, but there is a big bunch of people up there who are very, very offensive. I will tell members that I have sat at James Price Point and joked to Hon Sally Talbot and Senator Louise Pratt that what that place needed was a great big hydrocarbon plant; but of course when we look at that location, we think that is not what it needs. What people in the Kimberley need and what Indigenous people need, in addition to the services that they are entitled to from any government as a citizen, is to be able to develop an economic future for themselves with the land that is theirs under law. That is what self-determination is. I will not sit here or anywhere and cop people with this patronising view that somehow Indigenous people are incapable of making good, sound decisions—whether on environmental or economic issues. It is always easy to find one or two dissidents or even a handful of dissidents—it happens in my party, the Greens and in the Liberal Party—who do not agree with something and pick them off and run them out to the media as if they are representative of the majority of people. It is absolute rubbish! What is being perpetrated in the Kimberley is dividing an already disadvantaged group.

The opposition supports the motion, but on the basis that the Premier has caused confusion over what his plans may or may not be. I have a lot more faith in what the Leader of the House has said about economic development and plans for economic development, but that is not the message we get from the prime minister in this state—the Premier. He has done a lot to cause the confusion that has resulted in this division. With that, I conclude my comments.

HON WENDY DUNCAN(Mining and Pastoral — Parliamentary Secretary)[11.05 am]: I do not support the motion. The key parts of the motion contain the accusation that the government is prioritising industrialisation over appropriate protection and sustainable economic development of the Kimberley. The critical point here, which both the Leader of the House and Hon Jon Ford have noted, is that the Kimberley is a vast area with a range of economic potentials, as well as the most amazing areas of natural heritage in the world. I note the comments about the horizontal falls, which are probably one of the wonders of the world. There are some incredible things to preserve and appreciate in that area. However, we need to understand that the people of the Kimberley are not there as exhibits for us to go and visit and look at. They need jobs. They have just had one of their main sources of income decimated through the banning of the live cattle export. The other point is that they need not only jobs, but a choice of jobs, which is what we all expect to have and appreciate having.

As the National Party’s leader, Brendon Grylls, has been mentioned in this motion, I would like to point out some of the things that the National Party is doing to ensure the appropriate protection and sustainable economic development of the Kimberley. I guess that the key issue is to balance what is happening in James Price Point with the new Kimberley science and conservation strategy, which is worth $41 million. Hon Donna Faragher, who is sitting here beside me, had a great deal to do with producing that strategy that has been welcomed by Environs Kimberley Inc and the Pew Environment Group. The Pew Environment Group said that it is a significant step towards long-term protection of one of the most spectacular environments in the world. They stated —

... the Pew Environment Group, welcomed the release of the strategy, which was backed by a substantial funding injection from the WA Government into the long term conservation management of the Kimberley.

Environs Kimberley, the Wilderness Society and the Conservation Council of Western Australia put out a joint welcoming statement, noting —

“Importantly, the Strategy provides significant resources to address critical shortfalls in science for the unique Kimberley marine environment and to address threats to Kimberley biodiversity such as large fires and feral animals.

“Also, the Strategy outlines a ‘landscape scale’ approach to conservation in the Kimberley,

We have key environmental groups congratulating this government on the work it is doing to conserve the Kimberley. I am really proud to say that the Nationals, through royalties for regions, also support this strategy with nearly $7 million going towards funding tourism aspects of the Kimberley science and conservation strategy to help identify and develop nature-based and cultural tourism, to develop and promote tourism corridors and the expansion and promotion of aerial highways in trying to secure international air routes into Broome, as well as to promote four-wheel drive trails. This $7 million is made up of just over $4 million in operating funding to Tourism WA over four years, and nearly $3 million in capital to the Department of Environment and Conservation in 2011–12, to help deliver tourism infrastructure requirements.

In addition to that contribution to the Kimberley science and conservation strategy, we have also committed $20 million over four years from royalties for regions to the Department of Environment and Conservation to promote parks for expanding nature-based recreational tourism, improving access to low-cost caravan and camping areas, improving the safety and level of road access, and to deliver improvement in park management and infrastructure. This Naturebank initiative, as it is called, encourages private leases and joint initiatives between DEC, Tourism WA and private operators. It addresses some of the recommendations from the parliamentary inquiry into the provision and regulation of caravan parks and camping grounds in Western Australia that was undertaken in 2009. Royalties for regions funding will include $2 million a site to provide base services—namely, power, water and waste treatment. It is very important in that pristine part of the world that those things are well planned and well managed. It will also go towards site planning, the environmental and cultural assessment that needs to be undertaken, and the creation of regional employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, which is very significant given this morning’s debate. The focus of the Naturebank initiative in the Kimberley is in the Purnululu National Park and Windjana Gorge.

Of course, the improvement in the safety of roads and their access will assist not only tourism and that side of the strategy, but also the management of fire and emergency services, which will safeguard some of the communities there. The federal government has withdrawn the funding that it normally provides for Aboriginal roads in the Kimberley, leaving the Aboriginal communities in very difficult situations, particularly since the flooding when the roads were severely damaged. Of course, the local shire council does not collect rates in Aboriginal lands areas, and the job of managing the roads has fallen back on it.

Following on from what Hon Jon Ford said, it is very important to create jobs in the Kimberley, particularly for Aboriginal people because they make up a large proportion of the population. Under the regional grants scheme over the last few years, $30 000 has been given to the Tourism Council Western Australia for the Kimberley tourism accreditation mentoring project. Australia’s North West tourism, over several years, will receive $143 000 for promoting best practice in Aboriginal tourism in the Kimberley; the Miriuwung–Gajerrong group will receive $256 000 to assist it to identify recreation and tourism opportunities in new conservation areas; and, the Jarlmadangah Burru Aboriginal Corporation will receive $422 000 for a Dreamtime eco retreat. These are all indications that the government is committed to a balanced development of the Kimberley. That includes the James Price Point gas hub, but it also includes the work of this government in developing the Kimberley science and conservation strategy and marine parks such as Camden marine park, which is also a good initiative. In my past life, I was chairman of the Recherche advisory group in Esperance, and under the previous government there was a lot of talk about marine parks, but very little action. At last, now, this government is starting to work on marine parks around our coast, and royalties for regions funding is being committed to that. We want to see a balanced outcome for the Kimberley. We want to see a range of employment opportunities and economic opportunities. I do not think anyone in this house would not acknowledge the magnificence, beauty and uniqueness of the Kimberley, and would not be not committed to its preservation.

HON SALLY TALBOT(South West)[11.15 am]: I think it is just a bit cute of Hon Wendy Duncan to start quoting from press releases put out by the Conservation Council. I am not here to speak for or on behalf of people such as Piers Verstegen, Peter Robertson or the Environs Kimberley director, Martin Pritchard, because they are all well able to speak for themselves. They do that often and they do it in a very articulate and effective way. What Hon Wendy Duncan did not put on the record is the subheading to that press release, which states “But major industrialisation threats must be removed”. I think that if she truly believes that this strategy has received any sort of acclaim from the conservation movement, she is sadly mistaken. The point of the comments made by the conservation movement is that, although it welcomes the strategy as a step in the right direction, the strategy has not addressed the community’s fears that, because of the government’s political agenda, the very values that the strategy seeks to protect will in fact be destroyed. That is a crucial point that members need to understand to be able to participate in this argument in any meaningful way.

I am not here to speak for the conservation movement; I am here to speak for the WA Labor Party, and I want to put on the record what our problem is with the document that was produced earlier this week. As we all know, this whole process of putting together the science and conservation strategy for the Kimberley has been beset by controversy since the very beginning. It is interesting that Hon Donna Faragher sought the call—I hope she gets the chance to make some points after I have spoken—because of course she was the minister who started this process and so was responsible for most of that early controversy. But what we saw the other day when the final document was produced was a strategy that, far from being a genuine plan to protect the Kimberley, is in fact all green smoke and mirrors. I am on record as having offered the view previously that the motive behind things such as the announcement of Camden Sound and Eighty Mile Beach was that the government found itself, within days of being in government—it did not take it very long—in trouble. It is interesting that Hon Norman Moore is standing here today trying to rewrite the history on Noonkanbah.

Hon Norman Moore: No, no; I was there when it was being written in the first place. I know who has rewritten it. You don’t know anything about it at all.

Hon SALLY TALBOT: It took the Barnett government only a matter of days before it found itself up to its neck in extremely hot water on the way it was handling matters in the Kimberley. After a few months—it was perfectly obvious to anybody who knows how to read political tea-leaves—the Premier went to the then Minister for Environment and said, “Look, we need something green to take the heat off us as we proceed with all this talk about compulsory acquisition and welcoming the industrialisation of the Kimberley. For goodness sake, hurry up and find something that we can tout our green credentials with.” So Hon Donna Faragher came up with the Camden Sound marine park. She botched it at the time, and she has never been able to give a coherent account of things such as the multiple values that her own documentation states the government is trying to protect. It has absolutely no idea what the substance of genuine environmental protection consists of, and we are supporting this motion today to try to bring some of these things to the fore for proper discussion. The fact is that the Premier was asked in the government’s media room the other day to confirm that there was any meaningful reassurance for the community in the statement, and whether he was prepared to stand up to the miners and developers who have most of the Kimberley staked out for development. When he was asked what areas he had set aside for his pet projects his answer was, “I’m not going to talk about that today”. He was unable to give any meaningful reassurance that there was any substance whatsoever to this talk about protecting the Kimberley.

Now we have this brand-new concept out there for discussion. Did we hear Hon Norman Moore talk about “connectivity conservation”? I will be very interested to hear what Hon Donna Faragher has to say about that, because I bet she has absolutely no idea what it means. I have asked her a couple of times in this place what is meant by the “multiple values” she is trying to protect in Camden Sound; her first response was, “You shouldn’t be asking me that, because you should already know”.

Hon Donna Faragherinterjected.

Hon SALLY TALBOT: Of course I know, and I knew the answer then, but Hon Donna Faragher patently did not.

Several members interjected.

The PRESIDENT: Order! So far this has been a very interesting, meaningful debate, respected by everybody; let us keep it along those lines for the next six minutes.

Hon SALLY TALBOT: Thank you, Mr President; that is absolutely my intention!

We then asked the same question of Hon Donna Faragher’s successor in the other place; the answer we got from him was, if anything, even more ludicrous. He waffled on about protecting “maritime marine values”, whatever that is supposed to mean. They have no idea, so I look forward to hearing Hon Donna Faragher talk about what she thinks “connectivity conservation” is. I have told her before, and I will tell her again: I know the answer to that question, and I am very sad that she still does not.

The community has every right to be extremely suspicious about what the Premier and the Minister for Environment intend to be the effect of this statement. As honourable members opposite already know, the conservation movement has condemned the Camden Sound marine park as being a plan for fishing and drilling. Has anybody from the Liberal Party or the National Party come out to say, “No, that’s not the case”? Of course not, because they have no idea what any of this is about.

What is the point of marine parks with no significant sanctuary zones? What is the point of wilderness parks that are still open to mining? We have spent some time in this house discussing the Department of Conservation and Land Management Act amendments, so the government knows exactly what members on this side of the house think about those amendments to the Department of Conservation and Land Management Act and the Native Title (State Provisions) Act; we have put all that on the record. What is the point of having joint management plans that leave the local Aboriginal people feeling disempowered? What is the point of having a 10-year reform discussion paper? I am sorry that Hon Wendy Duncan has had to leave the chamber on urgent parliamentary business, because I thought we might have heard her address that matter. She has put her name to the 10-year reform discussion paper, yet she knows that everyone, including pastoralists in the Kimberley, is uneasy about the direction the government is going in.

What did we actually look for the other day when the Premier and the Minister for Environment made this announcement about the final Kimberley science and conservation strategy? I will tell members what I looked for: I looked for some undertaking from the government that the Fitzroy River would not be dammed. I looked for some announcement about the size of the sanctuary zones to be established in the marine parks, because I can tell members that the bar was set very, very high by what the previous Labor government did in Ningaloo, and I believe there is reason to go even further than that in Camden Sound. I looked for at least some discussion about plans to mine coal and uranium in the Fitzroy Valley. I looked for some indication that the government is even aware that most of the East Kimberley is under exploration for uranium. But, most of all, I looked for some commitment from the government that there would not be more than one LNG hub in the Kimberley. Did I find any of those assurances? No. There was not a word about damming the Fitzroy River, not a word about sanctuary zones in the marine parks, and not even a glancing eye movement towards the fact that significant areas of the Fitzroy Valley in the East Kimberley are staked out for coal and uranium mining. Most significantly, there was not one comment about whether there would be more than one industrial LNG hub in the Kimberley. In fact, when the Premier was asked specifically about that during his press conference, he refused to give that assurance.

The truth is that the Barnett government will not rule out further industrialisation of the Kimberley, and the Premier is not prepared to talk about what parts of the Kimberley he wants to preserve.

HON DONNA FARAGHER(East Metropolitan — Parliamentary Secretary)[11.25 am]: I rise to oppose the motion before the house. It is a pity that I have only a couple of minutes, but I want to say that Hon Robin Chapple and, indeed, the always-patronising Hon Sally Talbot—it is always good to see that she does not change her spots—hate the fact that a Liberal government can actually do good things for the environment. They hate the fact that a Liberal government will actually put money into an important area of Western Australia. The Labor Party has never done anything in terms of putting forward a plan or money to protect the Kimberley. It appears to have been lost on both members that the Kimberley science and conservation strategy is a very bold and important strategy that will see fantastic initiatives and actions occur right across the region. The centrepiece will be the Kimberley wilderness parks, which I announced with the Premier last year. We have heard the comments made by Hon Sally Talbot; she talked about Camden Sound. Did the Labor Party ever propose a Camden Sound marine park? No. Did it ever propose four new Kimberley marine parks? No. Did it ever propose making Prince Regent Nature Reserve a national park? No. Has it proposed any work on the Kimberley islands to make sure they are conservation arks, to be managed in partnership with the traditional owners? No. Did it ever suggest that we take a landscape-scale approach to conservation to manage key threats such as fire and feral animals? No.

With seven seconds remaining, all I can say is that it is a Liberal government, not the Labor Party and not the Greens (WA), that has actually done something for this region.

Debate interrupted, pursuant to temporary orders.

The PRESIDENT: Order! This motion lapses, but this is something we need to address in our review of the standing orders. Because there were two motions, this motion has not had the full 80 minutes, so it actually goes onto the notice paper and the remaining 15 minutes or so can be finished at some stage, but it lapses for the time being; there is no question about that, because we have used 80 minutes on non-government business.

Point of Order

Hon NORMAN MOORE: I would like to discuss this afterwards, but it is my understanding that 80 minutes was set aside for non-government business and that at that time it concludes, whether or not we have done it all. The President is suggesting that if a non-government member wants to do more than one item, they can spend the last five minutes of non-government business debating a motion that will then go on the notice paper for a further 80 minutes, and that was never the intention.

The PRESIDENT: No, and that is something we have to clarify in the standing orders. There is no question that non-government business has 80 minutes, and that 80 minutes has now been taken. The motion now lapses and we will move on to other business. The question is what happens to the remaining time on the motion; at the moment, it generally goes onto the notice paper and usually never sees the light of day again, but that is something we will just have to clarify in time.

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