NATIONAL PARKS — EXPANSION
283. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the Minister for Environment:
(1) Will the minister confirm that a government plan
to expand national parks by five million hectares includes extinguishing
permanently the expectation of hundreds of jobs and $2 billion worth of
life-of-mine royalties and port fees from two prospective mines in the Helena
and Aurora Ranges?
(2) Has the WA
government accepted uncritically the view of the Environmental Protection
Authority that troglofauna are more important than jobs for Western Australians?
(3) Instead of
punishing miners and suppliers and their families, will the government abolish
the EPA before it kills any more WA jobs?
The PRESIDENT: Minister for
Environment, I am not sure about that final part of the question; that might be
seeking an opinion.
STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
It was a question that was asked of
me. I am happy to provide an answer, Madam President.
The PRESIDENT: It is up to
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON: I thank
the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1) The Plan for
Our Parks initiative seeks to secure a further five million hectares of new
national parks, marine parks and other conservation reserves over the next five
years. This will see the state's conservation estate increase by over
20 per cent. The initiative will also respond to the growing demand for
on-country jobs for Aboriginal rangers. It is designed to complement other
initiatives, such as the successful $20 million Aboriginal ranger program, by
creating real jobs, tourism opportunities and conservation outcomes in regional
and remote areas. A proposal to create a class A national park is proposed over
the Helena and Aurora Ranges as part of the Plan for Our Parks initiative. The
Helena and Aurora Ranges are an intact banded iron formation with extremely
high environmental and social values. Once mined, these landforms cannot be
restored. The McGowan government is committed to preserving this range for
Environmental Protection Authority is an independent statutory body established
under the Environmental Protection Act 1986. The government will continue to
consider the advice of the Environmental Protection Authority; however, decisions
on allowing significant projects to proceed will be made after carefully
weighing up the environmental, social and economic aspects.