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