Nullaki Lime Pit Decision a Lemon

The Greens (WA) South West MLC Diane Evers has called on local and state government to challenge last month‘s State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) decision to grant conditional approval of a limestone mine on the Nullaki Peninsula (the Nullaki).

Intense community resistance has grown in recent weeks after multiple rejections by the City of Albany were ignored and overturned by the SAT, and Ms Evers believes the fierce reaction is justified.

“I strongly support local residents who argue this extraction disregards the objectives of the conservation zone and will be detrimental to the fragile environment of the Nullaki,” she said.

“92% of public submissions objected to, or raised concerns about, this extraction project.

“Its subsequent approval has directly ignored two unanimous decisions made by the City of Albany on the grounds a lime pit would be at odds with the environmental and social amenity of the area.”

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington has estimated The City has spent $150,000 on the matter and states it cannot afford the significant expense of an appeal to the Supreme Court.

However, a fauna study funded by the Natural Resource Management Program is currently being conducted and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation have not received an application for a clearing permit under part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

Ms Evers believes this provides valid grounds to challenge a determination by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in 2017 not to assess the proposal.

“I have been contacted by a number of concerned constituents regarding the issue and consider State Government intervention to be essential,” she said.

“They have told me the stress and fear this decision has caused within their community will shatter their calm and peaceful lifestyle.

“For this reason, along with the undeniable environmental case and shortcomings in the proponent’s due process, I will be writing to the EPA on the grounds the 2017 proposal requires a new determination.”

The establishment of a mine would see the extraction of up to 50,000 tonnes of lime per year from within a conservation zone instituted for the protection, enhancement and rehabilitation the flora, fauna and landscape qualities of the site.

Ms Evers said it was inconceivable to allow these competing objectives to exist together.

“The proposed lime pit will have a severe impact on the environment, including native flora and fauna of the area, contradicting the zoning objectives,” she said.

“There are also concerns that it will have significant negative impact on local businesses, tourism and property values.

“In my opinion, the SAT has once again overstepped the mark in overriding the good planning decisions of a local government, previously demonstrated when it approved a PUMA service station in Dunsborough.

“Of course we saw the outcome in that case, when compelling community opposition to inappropriate development resulted in a successful appeal in the Supreme Court.”

The Nullaki is home to habitat for critically endangered animals and in December 2018 the Nullaki Conservation Group discovered a range of mammals, reptiles and insects thriving during an official flora and fauna survey.

For more information and updates, visit thenullakicommunityactiongroup.org

GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

Lake Jasper Set for National Park Win?

Success in a three-decade effort to protect Western Australia’s largest freshwater lake is in sight after the State Government signalled its intention to prevent any future mining at the site of Yoondadadup Lake Jasper.

The Greens (WA) South West MLC Diane Evers will table a petition in parliament today containing almost 1000 signatures supporting the objection of a 2018 mining lease application at the location.

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition received a letter from Premier Mark McGowan regarding the matter on Thursday and Ms Evers anticipates a victorious outcome for the environmental protection group as a consequence.

“I was pleased to learn of the Premier’s intention to reinstate Yoondadadup Lake Jasper into D’Entrecasteaux National Park,” she said.

“The Premier’s assurance is the culmination of decades of effort and coordinated protest to protect the environment.

“Such a commitment must be credited to the coalition and its co-conveners, Andy Russell and Geoff Evans, who have faced down multiple mining lease applications before this result could be achieved.”

In response to parliamentary questioning by Ms Evers late last year, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he would write to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum to suspend consideration of the current application.

However, the Premier’s words last week was his government’s first explicit statement in support of ending any prospect of mining adjacent to the significant wetland.

Ms Evers believed this decision was brought about by dedicated community activism to ensure a crucial environmental asset was preserved.

“The cultural heritage and environmental values of the Gingilup-Jasper wetland system would have been destroyed by mining, which was clearly highlighted by those defending it,” she said.

“I’m very proud to have represented these concerns in Parliament in the form of two Member’s Statements and now, tabling a second petition in the Legislative Council.

“This end result after years of effort will be the protection of this unique ecological treasure.

“Full credit must be given to the driving forces of the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition — although we must now ensure the good intentions of Premier McGowan are converted into reality.”

In 1988 a Labor Government legislated to excise land from D’Entrecasteaux National Park and allow mineral sand mining immediately adjacent to Yoondadadup Lake Jasper.

Then, in 1994, the Court Government promised to return the excised land into D’Entrecasteaux National Park if the mining proposal in this area did not proceed, however, when the mining lease was discontinued a decade ago, the Barnett Government did not honour this commitment.

ABOUT D’ENTRECASTEAUX COALITION:

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition was established 30 years ago to raise public awareness about the initial application to explore for mineral sands in the D’Entrecasteaux National Park and subsequent mining lease applications adjacent to Yoondadadup Lake Jasper within the D’Entrecasteaux National Park.

ABOUT YOONDADADUP LAKE JASPER

  • The Gingilup-Jasper wetland system is a major nursery area for freshwater fishes and frogs, and harbours a unique array of plant species.
  • Scientific surveys of the area have ranked Lake Jasper-Gingilup wetlands third among the 27 south coast wetlands for species diversity and abundance.
  • Lake Jasper is recognised as one of the most important wetlands for waterbirds in the southwest.
  • There are 10 freshwater fish species in the south-west of WA, eight of them endemic.
  • Lake Jasper is a major nursery area for the native freshwater fishes.
  • Seven of the nine fishes known from the Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System occur at Lake Jasper, which also supports eight wetland frogs.
  • The national significance of D’Entrecasteaux National Park has been recognised by the Australian Heritage Commission, which has placed the Park on the Register of the National Estate.
  • D’Entrecasteaux National Park and Lake Jasper are the jewels in the crown of wilderness areas in the South West and provide tourism that is vital to south coast communities.

 

GET IN TOUCH:

Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

Scheme Scheduling a Cause for Alarm

The Greens (WA) regional development and water spokesperson Diane Evers is concerned the timing of the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme’s (SFIS) referral to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) could be a strategic attempt to avoid proper scrutiny from Manjimup and Pemberton residents.

A seven-day public comment period closes on Thursday, February 7 and Ms Evers believes SF Irrigation Co-operative Ltd, the industry body responsible for referring the proposal to the EPA, have not followed good process by remaining silent.

“The public comment period for this assessment opened on a Friday and has not been supported with any kind of formal announcement by SF Irrigation Co-operative Ltd or the State Government,” she said.

“The proponents of the SFIS are well-aware of opposition to the plan and would no doubt appreciate the vociferous opposition being minimised during an environmental assessment.

“EPA assessment of this scheme is absolutely necessary and awareness of the scheme’s adverse environmental impact, coupled with unfair outcomes for those who are not involved, is the reason for community opposition to the proposal.

Ms Evers has encouraged Manjimup and Pemberton landowners who are concerned about such issues to make a submission to the EPA before Thursday asking for a full public environmental review.

“The SFIS will have a major environmental impact in the forested catchment of one of the few remaining freshwater rivers in the South West Region,” she said.

“With long term consequences on the Donnelly River, the cost of food production and major unnecessary environmental impacts on the forest, action must be taken to show the McGowan Government how unsuitable this scheme is.”

Ms Evers also said the scheme, which was originally mooted for referral to the EPA almost a year ago, has drawn strong criticism from local growers as being inequitable because of how it favours only those who could afford to buy-in.

“$70 million of government funding is being put into a project that will benefit 68 people, who have pledged to contribute $10 million,” she said.

“Those 68 people who have the resources to invest in the project are essentially receiving a 700 per cent subsidy from the Government for land they purchased, knowing there was limited water catchment.

“Meanwhile, self-supply water users are disadvantaged by a price being unnecessarily applied to water used for food production and existing applications for water allocations are being refused due to surface water resources being fully allocated.

The SFIS scheme was proposed by the previous Barnett ministry as part of its Water for Food project and in November a 322-signature petition was presented to parliament requesting a moratorium be enacted until independent scrutiny of public consultation, economic and environmental issues could be carried out.

Comments on the referred proposal asking for a full public environmental review can be made on the EPA’s website by following this link.

Fact File: Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme
  • State and federal funding for SFIS more than 85% of its total cost, despite scheme water being limited to just 68 people who make a financial contribution1
  • Scheme proposes construction of a 15 gigalitre dam and 250km pipeline distribution network through private farm land. Landowners who have not contributed receive no benefit even if pipelines pass through their property1
  • In December 2017 the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation temporarily suspended new water allocation licences in eight sub-catchments of the Donnelly River catchment area for 12 months1
  • As a result, 11 water allocation applications were refused in the Warren-Donnelly catchment area in the 12 months prior to November 20182
  • Under the SFIS, as an example, a food producer constructing a new 100ML farm dam will be required to pay $100,000 for access to water and annual charges by SFIS of $17,2001
Fact File: Manjimup/Pemberton Agricultural Area
  • Manjimup area regarded as the ‘food bowl of the South West’1
  • Self-supply water is the basis of $230 million in food production in the Shire of Manjimup1
  • Manjimup and Pemberton Landowners group wrote to State Premier Mark McGowan (January 2018), State Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan and Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack (both January 2019) on the matter1,3
  • Manjimup and Pemberton Landowners group have requested a full public environmental review of SFIS1
  • Success of food production in Manjimup and Pemberton is based on self-supply water in private farm dams1
References:
  1. Diane Evers letter to Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, 4 October 2018
  2. Parliamentary Debates (HANSARD), 22 November 2018
  3. Manjimup and Pemberton Landowners letter to Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food, 18 January 2019

 

Get in touch:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

Bremer Bay: Afternoon Tea with Diane Evers MLC

Want to be heard in State Parliament? Greens MLC Diane Evers is your South West Regional voice and she wants to listen to what you have to say.

Diane believes in Rural Regeneration: investing in regional areas to allow our environment and local communities to thrive.

Join Diane for afternoon tea, exchange ideas to enrich Bremer Bay and discuss solutions to existing issues, including:
• Protecting the Bremer Canyon and Bremer’s diverse wildlife
• Supporting small businesses and sustainable tourism development
• Increasing local farming and local produce availability
• Developing improved health, education and infrastructure in the region

Diane looks forward to meeting you!

(Food and drink provided)

Jerramungup: Lunch with Diane Evers MLC

Want to be heard in State Parliament? Greens MLC Diane Evers is your South West Regional voice and she wants to listen to what you have to say.

Diane believes in Rural Regeneration: investing in regional areas to allow our environment and local communities to thrive.

Join Diane for lunch, exchange ideas to enrich Jerramungup and discuss solutions to existing issues, including:

• Boosting tourism by improving access to Fitzgerald River National Park
• Sealing the road to Point Ann
• Supporting local farming and agriculture
• Developing improved health, education and infrastructure in the region

Diane looks forward to meeting you!

(Food and drink provided)