The Ancient Art of the Dampier Archipelago

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.

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

Serious concern over Federal plans to hand off responsibility for services in Aboriginal communities

Thursday September 25

The Australian Greens have expressed serious concerns that services for Aboriginal communities will be compromised by a deal which will see the Federal Government move responsibility for their municipal and essential services to the states.

"The Federal Government has made a point of emphasising its successful ‘historic agreement' to hand responsibility for municipal and essential services in remote Aboriginal communities to the states, but it is clear that this deal is far from perfect," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues said today.

"The handover of responsibility of these services has been on the Commonwealth's agenda for a long time and communities have had serious concerns about this handover and what it means for their communities. While the Minister seems to think he has achieved a long term solution I don't think that is likely."

"Comments published today indicated that the WA Government is a long way from being in step with the Federal Government, with concerns over a shortfall in funding and the impacts on residents of those communities. The WA Government is suggesting that around 180 remote Aboriginal communities will be affected, and that the money offered by the Federal Government will cover only two years of services.

"I am concerned that while governments bicker between themselves, communities who are crying out for better investments in critical services will be forgotten. The financial pressure of this transition could lead to the States making cuts to services or looking to close remote communities.

"The Federal Government cannot jepoardise the delivery of essential services to remote community by hurriedly handing this responsibility off to the states. Doing so has the potential to serious undermine efforts to close the gap and can lead to a range of health and community concerns.

"I am calling on the Federal Government to ensure that any move to transition the provision of these services to the states guarantees adequate funding into the long term and robust, transparent monitoring processes to ensure communities do not lose out," Senator Siewert concluded.

Greens Robin Chapple WA State Parliament spokesperson for Aboriginal affairs was also highly critical of the move.

"WA is already failing to service remote Aboriginal communities and has already closed some and as Minister Marmion has pointed out this may mean more closures into the future," Mr Chapple said today.

"There seems to be a predilection with governments at both the federal and state level to dump on those who can least afford it.

"There are massive social and economic costs in closing communities as have been experienced by the closure of Oombulgurri and its pending demolition, heavily criticised by Amnesty International Australia.

"We don't go around closing small rural towns half the size of many of these communities, so why shouldn't Aboriginal communities by nurtured on their lands and in their towns places they have lived for thousands of years.

"This is just another short term bean counting exercise that will undo the good work of the last 40 years and provide a cost explosion in relocation and social breakdown into the future," Mr Chapple concluded.

Originally posted here by the office of Senator Rachel Siewert.

Yule River Bush Meeting to Inform of and Protest AHA amendments

Friday 26 September

The Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation is today hosting a bush meeting at Yule River to educate and inform remote Aboriginal communities of the proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act and how they will affect the rights of Aboriginal people in Western Australia.

The proposed amendments will give more power to the Department and newly-created CEO to make decisions with regards to Aboriginal heritage whilst effectively stripping the Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee of any real powers and removing a requirement in the act to consult traditional owners or allow them right of appeal.

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC said the proposed amendments were an attack on the cultural autonomy of all Aboriginal peoples in Western Australia.

“I do acknowledge that the Aboriginal Heritage Act requires significant changes to empower Aboriginal peoples in Western Australia and protect their culture and heritage,” he said.

“What these proposed amendments do however is take a bad bill and make it worse; it’s rubbing salt in the wound.

“I’m here today in Yule River to do everything I can to help support and inform Aboriginal communities in WA, and to protest the underlying racism and absolute disregard for Aboriginal heritage shown by the Barnett government.”

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


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