Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Opinion: Peter Robertson on the NY Times article

The Wilderness Society’s Peter Roberston says a New York Times article has “embarrassed” Premier Colin Barnett.

Peter Robertson

Peter Robertson

The article names the Kimberley as one of “46 top places to visit”.

“Barnett’s attempt to downplay the threat of industrialisation across the region is deeply misleading,” Mr Robertson said.

You can read a media release here:

MEDIA RELEASE

15 January 2013

Barnett’s response to New York Times story on Kimberley embarrassing

The Wilderness Society has welcomed today’s recognition by the New York Times that the Kimberley is one of the best places on the globe to visit, but is under imminent threat from mining.

However, in his reactive response, an obviously embarrassed Premier Barnett has made several misleading statements.

Wilderness Society WA State Coordinator Peter Robertson said the Premier had falsely claimed that the government had created four new marine parks in the Kimberley. In fact, only one has been created (Camden Sound), while two others are still on the drawing boards after three years and the fourth remains a distant promise.

“The ‘major new terrestrial park’ is in fact just a regazettal of the existing Prince Regent Nature Reserve as a national park – there is no nett conservation gain.

“Lastly, but most seriously, Barnett’s attempt to downplay the threat of industrialisation across the region is deeply misleading.

“There are multiple oil and gas, mining and large scale agricultural projects across the region that the government is well aware of and in many cases is backing. These include coal mining in the Fitzroy River valley, bauxite mining on the Mitchell Plateau, uranium mining near Derby and proposed dams on the Fitzroy River.

“Specifically in relation to the gas hub at James Price Point, the Premier has recently clearly linked the proposed LNG development to the exploitation by fracking of the huge onshore shale gas deposits in the Canning Basin. If this proceeds, tens of thousands of hectares of the south Kimberley would be turned into an industrial landscape.

“This project which the government is backing would make a complete mockery of the Premier’s ridiculous attempt to compare the James price Point gas project to seats at the MCG.

“Once again, the Premier’s lack of vision and appreciation of the significance of the Kimberley have been exposed.”

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