And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Disgrace

I would normally place wildlife or holiday stories and pictures on this blog, but sometimes I must add to the social comment and place my thoughts on here as well.

What caught my eye recently in our local state newspaper, The West Australian, was an article titled 'Minister overrules green watchdog over mines'. Colin Barnett, the leader of our state government, has to me always seemed like a weak naive individual ,who seems to only chase acceptance and votes from the upper crust, often by using his policital power to ride over issues of common sense and government structure. Probably sounds like most politicians, but I am always amazed at his lack of knowledge or concern for the environment.

Here's the story from The West Australian in a nutshell:

The State Government has rejected the advice of its own environmental watchdog by giving the green light to iron ore mining at a biodiversity hotspot in the Mid-West, sparking accusations it is putting Chinese mining interests ahead of the environment.

Environment Minister Donna Faragher approved yesterday two iron ore mining proposals by Karara Mining. The move overrode an Environmental Protection Authority recommendation that mining not be permitted in the area surrounding Mungada Ridge, part of the Blue Hills Range 225km east of Geraldton, because of its unique and vulnerable ecosystem.

The EPA assessment said mining posed a risk of species extinctions on the Mungada Ridge and the neighbouring Terapod iron formation, and recommended that the site be a class-A conservation reserve.

But Mrs Faragher overturned the advice after Karara pledged to conserve 995ha. Mrs Faragher said the eastern portion of Mungada Ridge would become the region’s first conservation reserve and she was confident it was big enough to protect endemic species.

Conservation Council mining spokesman Tim Nicol said the 995ha was “inadequate”, and many species on the ridge had not been studied.

What I am also interested in is what scientific infomation Mrs Faragher used to decide that 995ha was enough? Her own guess? An order from Colin? A big business executive?

Ranges, especially the Ironstone Ranges in the Mid West are basically islands in an arid sea, where special short range endemic animals have evolved and cannot move anywhere else. I have worked and visited many of these special ranges and they are amazing in their biodiversity and difference compared to the surrounding areas. To mine areas such as these when other options are available is a complete disgrace! Shame on Colin Barnett and his government!

It seems that again we in Western Australia and the whole world will lose all our interesting ecosystems and wildlife by the slow 'death of a thousand cuts'.

In the not too distant future, will there be anything interesting to put on a nature blog? Maybe just some old digital photos and old stories.

1 comment:

Heather said...

What horrible news. Shaking my head in disbelief. Environment Minister? How about "environment sinister"?