Evers efforts effective in reclaiming lake protections

Hon. Diane Evers MLC (left) with the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance’s Jane Fuchsbichler.

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Greens (WA) South West MLC Diane Evers has made progress in efforts to protect Western Australia’s largest freshwater lake after the State Government indicated they will halt a mining lease application at Lake Jasper.

Responding to parliamentary questioning by Ms Evers in recent weeks, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he would write to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum to suspend consideration of the current application by Strategic Energy Resources.

The decision comes as Ms Evers prepares to camp overnight at the site on Saturday as part of the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition’s ‘Camp on the Country’, joining Indigenous custodians and local environmental activists.

“There is genuine feeling in the South West to make sure this lease is not approved, so I am encouraged by the Minister for Environment seeking to suspend consideration of the application,” she said.

“The area has significant cultural heritage and environmental values that would be destroyed by mining.

“This weekend we will be at Lake Jasper to support the current actions to save the lake from inappropriate and destructive mining.”

A petition to protect the lake from mining of any type and to reinstate surrounding land back into D’Entrecasteaux National Park was submitted to parliament on November 28 and Ms Evers is keen to see follow-through on this action.

“A potential mine would be only 300 metres from the shore of Lake Jasper, within the national park, and could potentially contaminate surface and ground water or damage wetlands essential for flora and fauna,” she said.

“Lake Jasper is one of Western Australia’s few large freshwater lakes that is relatively undamaged by human activity, but you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

“The lake should be returned into D’Entrecasteaux National Park where this unique ecological treasure can be protected for all to enjoy.”

The Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System area has been identified as having extensive acid sulphate soils, with Ms Evers noting the area may not even be suitable for mining from a business perspective.

“The community is well-aware past attempts for mining and exploration have floundered because of environmental risks,” she said.

“One-such failure occurred nearby at Beenup, with the mine there closed after only two years due to corrosion of equipment.

“If the risk to the land is not appreciated by these mining companies, perhaps the economic risk will be.”

The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition’s Camp on the Country begins at 2pm on December 8.

Concerned community members who wish to participate are encouraged to email savelakejasper@gmail.com for further details.

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