South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has welcomed news that a three-decade effort to protect Western Australia’s largest freshwater lake from cultural and environmental harm is a step closer, after a mining lease was withdrawn by its proponent at a site adjacent to Yoondadadup Lake Jasper.
Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for wetlands, had previously tabled a petition in WA Parliament containing almost 1000 signatures supporting the objection of any mining lease applications at the site. A 2018 mining lease application submitted for the location by Strategic Sands Pty Ltd was withdrawn on December 1, leaving oncoming native title settlement and stakeholder input as the only remaining barriers to the return of the lake to the surrounding D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
Last year the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition, a group of local environmental protection bodies, received a letter from Premier Mark McGowan indicating future intention to reinstate Yoondadadup Lake Jasper into D’Entrecasteaux National Park. Subsequently, after questioning in parliament by Ms Evers earlier this year, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions confirmed that the majority area previously under application for the mining lease would be pursued for addition to D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
This assurance from the Premier was the culmination of decades of effort and coordinated protest to protect the environment by the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition and its co-conveners, Andy Russell and Geoff Evans, who had faced down multiple mining lease applications before this result could be achieved.
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. In 1988, a WA Labor Government legislated to excise land from D’Entrecasteaux National Park and allow mineral sand mining immediately adjacent to Yoondadadup Lake Jasper, however, 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. Despite the previous mining lease becoming discontinued a decade ago, the Barnett Government did not honour this commitment.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:
“I am so pleased that progress, slow and frustrating as it might be, has been made on an important environmental issue spanning many decades of effort and community activism.
“The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition and its co-conveners, Andy Russell and Geoff Evans, deserve particular praise for their efforts over the years – without their single-minded efforts to see the lake protected, we would not be on the brink of such an environmental victory.
“I recognise that South West Native Title settlement is a pressing issue to be resolved in this matter, but I now call on the WA Labor Government and Premier McGowan to affirm its commitment to reinstating Yoondadadup Lake Jasper into D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
“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.
“Yoondadadup Lake Jasper is one of the most important wetlands for waterbirds in the South West and with is a major nursery area for the native freshwater fishes.
“Meanwhile, 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