Friends of Australian Rock Art Inc.

Fri 20 April 2018

Friends of Australian Rock Art (FARA) is appalled and incensed at the WA Premier’s latest plans for further industrial development on the Burrup peninsula, as revealed by the ABC North West WA this morning.

“This is an outrageous move” states FARA spokesperson Judith Hugo “ and so soon after the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation requested that the WA government put Murujuga/the Dampier Archipelago forward for World Heritage listing.”

“The Aboriginal custodians will be alarmed that yet more industry will impinge on their sacred rock art, with even more acidic emissions destroying the engravings and polluting their land and waterways. Were they even consulted?”

On March 22 the Federal Senate Inquiry into the threats to the rock art revealed majority support for World Heritage listing and the urgent need to control the industrial emissions of current industries, including the YARA Technical Ammonium Nitrate plant which is still awaiting its license to operate if it can demonstrate best practice emissions control.

If leading scientists and the concerned public understand the emissions problem, why is the Premier seeking to compound it? Why doesn’t further development go to the Maitland Industrial Estate south of Karratha, purpose-built in 2003 in order to keep industry away from the ancient rock art?

The briefing note quoted in the ABC article implied that there was an unseemly rush to get these industries approved before World Heritage listing could be granted. This is a cowardly act by the WA government, knowing full well that further development could ruin any chance of UNESCO deeming the Burrup peninsula an appropriate site for World Heritage protection?

“FARA was hopeful that the new Labor government would operate by a higher code of ethics than the previous Coalition government, but again we are bitterly disappointed” says Judith Hugo.

“We appeal to the WA Minister for the Environment, Stephen Dawson, the Minister for Heritage, David Templeman and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to overrule this ill-advised proposal of the Premier and the Department of State Development.

“Surely Australia’s oldest 45,000 year old heritage site is worth more than a few industries with a 20 year lifespan, exposing workers and the local communities to the negative health impacts of chemical emissions?”

FARA press release 20.4.18


Further reading:

The Maitland Heavy Industrial Estate 2002: Assessment and Comparison with the Burrup Peninsula Industrial Estate
Prepared for: Shire of Roebourne

Report into the Maitland Industrial Precinct, August 2002
Prepared on behalf of the Karratha Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc
Report Purpose
To highlight the advantages to Government of immediately developing the Maitland Industrial
Precinct for future major industrial projects
The advantages are political, cultural, economic, environmental, social and recreational.