Nuclear waste dump could set radioactive precedent

Wednesday, April 1

WA Greens spokesperson on uranium issues Robin Chapple MLC has expressed dismay at the willingness of several goldfields shires to host a nuclear waste dump.

Local governments and private landowners have until May 5 to voluntarily nominate sites for the Federal Government’s proposed nuclear waste dump facility.

Mr Chapple said local governments should seriously reconsider voluntarily nominating sites for a nuclear waste dump as it will set a dangerous precedent for Western Australia.

“There is significant public opposition to the uptake of anything nuclear-related in the state of Western Australia,” he said.

“A nuclear waste dump, along with the recent approval of several uranium mines throughout the state, will only contribute to the impression that WA is a nuclear-friendly state.

“We do not want to see these types of industries normalised here in WA; they are unsafe, they are toxic, and they are unnecessary.”

Mr Chapple said federal politicians and international groups had been lobbying for an international nuclear waste dump since the 1980s.

“If this proposal is successful it will put our state one step closer to hosting the nuclear garbage of the rest of the world,” he said.                   

“Short term economic benefits are not a good enough reason for Western Australia to become a dumping ground for the rest of the world’s nuclear waste.”

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


Media liaison: Tim Oliver           

Mobile: 0431 9696 25

Asbestos risk to resident’s health

Greens MLC for the Mining and Pastoral region Robin Chapple has expressed serious concerns about the state government’s slow response to allegations of asbestos contamination on crown land in the Kalgoorlie suburb of Williamstown.

A review carried out by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) last week found five blocks along Austral Rd, Williamstown – all of which are unfenced and unsigned - contained reportable levels of asbestos.

KCGM have agreed to fence and signpost the block at 38 Austral Rd, which falls under their responsibility, as soon as possible however the other four blocks will be subjected to a government assessment which could take as long as three months before any remedial action is taken.

Mr Chapple said when it comes to dangerous substances, such as asbestos, being in such close proximity to people’s homes the government should take action first and then investigate.

“The blocks along Austral Rd should all be immediately fenced off from the public and warnings put in place to let people know there is asbestos present,” he said.

“This will provide Williamstown residents with some peace of mind whilst the proper government processes are carried out, but as it is these are wide open and publicly accessible spaces.

“Asbestos is known to be highly toxic to humans; it is absolutely reckless for this government not to immediately take action where people’s health is concerned.”

Mr Chapple said this latest threat to the residents of Williamstown was just another in a long line of problems over many years due to the mining operations of KCGM.

“This again just highlights the insensitivity of KCGM towards the residents of Williamstown,” he said.

“They very clearly have an ulterior motive with regards to Williamstown and this is having an adverse effect on the suburb’s residents.”

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

Media liaison: Tim Oliver           

Mobile: 0431 9696 25

Lake Way flooding proves Wiluna unviable

After yesterday flying over Lake Way to see the extent of flooding in the area, WA Greens spokesperson on uranium Robin Chapple MLC has expressed deep concern about the future of proposed uranium mining on the lake bed.
Toro Energy Ltd plans to store radioactive tailings from the proposed Wiluna uranium mine – up to 100 million tonnes – in the mined-out Centipede and Millipede pits, which will also reside on the lake bed and are currently underwater.
The company has previously cited flooding as a non-issue claiming the lake to be a natural drainage point however photographs taken by the Hon Robin Chapple MLC reveal this to be untrue.
Mr Chapple said the extensive flooding at Lake Way raised very serious concerns about the ability of Toro Energy Ltd to effectively manage water whilst mining such a volatile mineral on a lake bed.
“I do not believe this company has properly accounted, nor planned, for potential flooding to the extent we have seen this week at Lake Way,” he said.
“Not only would flood waters of this magnitude carry radioactive material to other parts of the ecosystem but upon drying out, could potentially release large quantities of oxidised uranium – radioactive dust – into the atmosphere.
“Had this been an active mine site we would now be dealing with an environmental disaster on a large scale.”
For comment please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.
Media liaison: Tim Oliver
Mobile: 0431 9696 25
Flooding - Lake Way 
Extent of flooding - Lake Way
Proposed Centipede pit site completely submerged, service road visible
Drainage occuring outside of lake boundaries
Proposed Millipede Pit site - Cleared ground and service roads visible on banks, test pit is fully submerged

Greens MP calls on the Environment Minister to protect Helena Aurora Range

Thursday, 19 February

Greens member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC today called on the WA Environment Minister to protect the Helena Aurora Range.

“The Helena Aurora Range is part of the country of the Kalamaia Kapurn people who call it Bungalbin. It is considered to have the highest conservation value among the Branded Iron Formation ranges in the central Yilgarn,” Mr Chapple explained.

“The WA EPA announced in December 2014 that it has deemed the proposal from Mineral Resources Ltd to mine the Helena and Aurora Range ‘environmentally unacceptable’.

“But the final decision of whether to mine or protect this ‘jewel in the crown’ in the Great Western Woodlands, lies with the Minister.

“If the Environmental Watchdog believes it needs protecting, why is the Minister dragging his feet on this issue, especially as so many of WA’s other outstanding banded ironstone ranges have been destroyed or are in the process of being destroyed?

“It is time for the WA government to act responsibly and protect this incredible feature of our environment. I call upon the Minister to give the Helena Aurora Range Class A, National Park status. ”

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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