Important gains likely for the Kimberley, but serious threats intensify

This contradicts Mr Barnett’s own public statement that it would be “pointless” to pursue compulsory acquisition because: 

“The chief proponent Woodside and other operators [Shell, BP, BHP and Chevron] are unlikely to maintain interest in the project without the agreement of the traditional owners. We would be applying it to a piece of land that would never be used.” (WA Business News, Dec 2008).

We’ll have to wait and see what these companies do if the Premier does go down this path!

Back to the better news

Following intense campaigning, the WA government has been under pressure to improve protection of the Kimberley and address the many serious threats to the region’s environment.

Now it appears some of these concerns are finally being addressed, with the Premier’s announcement possibly including:

  • The new ‘Camden Sound Marine Park’ – focused on parts of the Kimberley Humpback Whale nursery;
  • A new marine protected area over parts of Roebuck Bay near Broome;
  • A new conservation reserve over parts of the north Kimberley, including marine areas, which incorporates and ‘connects up’ multiple land tenures;
  • Around $9 million in funding for management;
  • Welcome changes to the WA Conservation and Land Management (CALM) Act to allow for greater Indigenous involvement in conservation and management in the Kimberley.

While these measures would have merit, in each case and as a total package they fall short of what is needed and what has previously been recommended by scientists and conservation groups.

As always, any measures to improve conservation outcomes in the Kimberley need to have the support and involvement of the region’s Traditional Owners – and this can be achieved by, for example, greater use of ‘Indigenous Protected Areas’ and expanded Indigenous Rangers programs.

Just another policitial ‘offset’

The Premier looks as stubbornly determined as ever to pursue the massive polluting LNG industrial site and port at James Price Point near Broome – using the above environmental announcements as an attempted “offset” for his damaging industrialisation agenda.

And now there are several new destructive proposals for the Kimberley, such as open cut coal mining in the Fitzroy River valley south of Derby and copper mining near the famous Horizontal Falls north of Derby.

Our political and corporate leaders seem not to understand or appreciate just how special and unique the Kimberley is. Keeping it that way is not only important environmentally, but provides the basis for the region’s future economic prosperity.  As usual, it’s up to us to tell them what they just don’t get!

What you can do!

When the Premier makes his announcement on conservation measures there is likely to be a period for public comment. Be prepared to tell Premier Barnett that ignoring large parts of the Kimberley earmarked for damaging development is not good enough! The whole Kimberley needs better protection and management, not just  the areas industry doesn’t want. 

  • Stay informed – join our Facebook page and bookmark our website for regular updates on how you can get involved in our Save the Kimberley Campaign;
  • Find out more about the announcement and the questions we need to ask to assess how effective the proposed changes are for the Kimberley;
  • Get involved in community consultation after the Premier’s announcement.

We will be in touch with more information as it is announced, and with ideas about more things we can all do to help protect our amazing Kimberley.

Yours, for nature,
Jenita Enevoldsen

on behalf of The Wilderness Society, WA.


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