Sneaky approval of questionable Kintyre uranium proposal

Wednesday, 4 March

Environment Minister Albert Jacob’s overnight approval of the Kintyre Uranium mine proposal was wrong on every level and should be immediately rescinded, according to WA Greens Uranium Spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC.

Mr Chapple said it was an inappropriate given the Office of Regional Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) was still investigating allegations of corruption into the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation’s (WDLAC).

“The Minister should not have made any decision until the position of the Martu people, with regards to a Uranium mine on their lands, had been absolutely clarified,” he said.

“Instead what Mr Jacob has done is slip this through quietly overnight with complete disregard for the investigation, or the mountain of appeals he has received in opposition.”

Mr Chapple said aside from potential legal ramifications the Kintyre proposal was a major environmental threat to the region’s unique desert environment and lacked the bipartisan political or broader public support necessary to validate its approval.

“This is yet another example of our government’s throwing its weight behind a rapidly ageing industry that will lock WA into an unsustainable future,” he said.

“This proposal will directly threaten the Karlamilyi National Park, the Karlamilyi River water catchment and the many threatened native flora and fauna species that inhabit this unique desert environment.

“To top it off the minister has recommended there should be no rehabilitation bonds, a move that could see liability for the clean-up of this mine fall on the taxpayer and not the company behind the proposal.

“Cameco have an appalling environmental record and are soon to face court in the USA and Canada over allegations of tax avoidance, yet we want to trust them to mine this dangerous mineral in such a fragile part of our state.”

Mr Chapple said issues raised by environmental and Indigenous groups had fallen on deaf ears.

“Appeals submitted on the basis of threats to groundwater, radiological uptake by native flora, the lack of baseline studies and commitments to monitoring in key areas have been dismissed,” he said.

“If this proposal ever wants to see the light of day it needs to be taken right back to step one and properly assessed.”


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

Media liaison: Tim Oliver           

Mobile: 0431 9696 25


Greens slam government for poor vision on Barrow

Thursday, 26 February


Greens MLC for the Mining and Pastoral region Robin Chapple yesterday slammed the government’s 2015 Barrow Island management plan as largely not addressing the extent of the issues present nor accounting for the growth in size of the Gorgon project.

The environmental management plan lays out the government’s expectations relating to the island’s natural environment, cultural heritage and resources for the next 10 years.

Mr Chapple said the management plan offered nothing useful in the way of restoring what had already been damaged on Barrow Island but instead offered a method of simply managing the status quo.

“There is absolutely nothing new in this plan that wasn’t already a part of Gorgon’s original contract for the island,” he said.

“There has been a large expansion of the project – it is now 2 or 3 times the size it was intended to be – and this management plan fails to address any of the subsequent issues caused by this expansion.

“When Colin Barnett was opposition leader he said Gorgon should never have been allowed on Barrow Island and vowed to force them off should he become Premier.

“As is so often the case with our Premier he has neglected to follow through with this commitment, perhaps hoping the rest of us would just forget about the issue?”

Mr Chapple said Barrow Island was a poorly managed environmental disaster.

“Invasive species at critical levels, injured and threatened native species, loss of natural habitats due to concrete infrastructure, poorly managed quarantine – the list goes on,” he said.

“As the Gorgon project continues to expand so too will the threats to this pristine environment, in particularly the 24 species of endemic native flora and fauna.

“I believe the situation has reached a point where, once Gorgon has vacated the premises, it will take billions of dollars’ worth of reinvestment to return Barrow Island to the sensitive state it was in prior to the arrival of Chevron.”

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

Media liaison: Tim Oliver     

Mobile: 0431 9696 25

Extensive illegal land clearing in Kimberley uncovered

Almost 2,000 hectares of pastoral land in the Kimberley has been cleared without a permit in the past five years.

Greens member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC uncovered the information in response to questions in Parliament.

Following inspections by the Department of Environmental Regulation (DER) the major perpetrator, South African in West Australia (SAWA Pty Ltd), was granted a retrospective land clearing permit and escaped prosecution for its actions at Shamrock Station.

Other SAWA properties, Moola Bulla Station and Beefwod Park Station, are currently undergoing assessment by DER, in consideration of even larger areas of clearing without a permit.

The offences in question occurred on Moola Bulla Station - approximately 784 ha; Beefwood Park Station - approximately 821 ha; Shamrock Station - approximately 236 ha; Kilto Station - approximately 60 ha; El Questro Station - approximately 6 ha; and Thangoo Station - approximately 15 ha.

Mr Chapple said it was wrong of the Department not to prosecute over the illegal clearing of native vegetation on the stations in question.

“This inaction by the department sends out a message that it’s ok to clear native vegetation at will, without any kind of environmental assessment or authority to do so,” he said.

“It’s akin to allowing a thief to keep the items he has stolen with just a slap on the wrist.

“The Department of Environmental Regulation is doing a fantastically poor job of regulating and prosecuting environmental crimes.”

Mr Chapple said he hoped the illegal clearing at Moola Bulla Station and Beefwood Park Station, by far the largest allegations, would result in prosecutions.

“The government needs to send a strong message to leaseholders that this kind of practice will not be tolerated,” he said.

“The department should be there to regulate and protect our natural environment, not facilitate its destruction.”

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

The KLC petition on the amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972

This petition from the Kimberley Land Council states the proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA) (the Act) are discriminatory and would detrimentally affect Aboriginal heritage. The Act should protect and preserve cultural heritage for Aboriginal people. Instead, the proposed amendments would deny Aboriginal people any meaningful involvement in heritage protection and give supreme decision-making power to a government bureaucracy. Traditional Owners of the Kimberley have not been properly consulted about the proposed amendments and do not support them

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.


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