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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 283 asked in the Legislative Council on 2 April 2019 by Hon Robin Scott

Minister responding: Hon S.N. Dawson
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 2 April 2019

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.

Hon 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 you.

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 future generations.

(2)–(3) The 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.