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The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed today’s announcement
that the Federal and Western Australian governments will make a strategic
assessment of the Kimberley region, saying it was important to identify areas of
high conservation value before selecting sites for industrial development.
ACF Northern Australia Manager Jann Crase said conservation and Indigenous
groups had recommended such a study to the WA Government last year.
“This is a responsible move by both governments. Last year, a joint statement by
ACF, the Kimberley Land Council, Environs Kimberley and other conservation
groups urged the WA Government to comprehensively assess the Kimberley’s
cultural and natural values and make this assessment underpin decision making
on development proposals,” Ms Crase said.
“It is imperative a comprehensive assessment informs any decisions regarding
future development to ensure the unique and outstanding natural and cultural
values of the Kimberley region are properly protected.
“We don’t want to see another Burrup Peninsula type situation,” Ms Crase said.
ACF supports economic development that protects the natural and cultural
values of the Kimberley and provides long term benefits to Traditional Owners of
the region. Governments are facing pressure to allow liquefied natural gas
(LNG) processing facilities in the region.
“This assessment is an important first step and we look forward to seeing more
detail about how broad the study will be, how Traditional Owners and
stakeholders will be involved and what role science will play in the analysis.
“We all know the Kimberley is a beautiful place, but it’s also a big place and we
have very little data on many of its natural and cultural values, so this study
should not be rushed,” Ms Crase said.