Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says the Government need to commit to independent scientific analysis of whale populations and other marine species around James Price Point.
In Question Time today, Senator Siewert drew the Government’s attention to the community science whale monitoring program operating at the site of the proposed gas hub.
“The Government seems to have given no thought to how it is going to undertake its decision making process for this development. It is imperative that they get independent monitoring done as they can’t rely on Woodside’s figures.
“There is mounting evidence that the Woodside’s assessment of the population grossly underestimates the number of whales in the region,” Senator Siewert said today.
“The community monitoring program has identified 1698 whales within 8km of the shore after a monitoring period of just four hours a day for five weeks. This figure includes 99 mother calf pairs.
“The Woodside assessment stated that only 1000 whales would pass within 8km of the shore across the entire migration season.
“As it stands we don’t even know how many animals will be effected by this development, so how can the Government begin to assess the long term impact it will have. Clearly independent scientific analysis is needed and it is incumbent on the Minister to ensure this takes place.
“Many of the dolphins counted in the Woodside environmental assessment were simply been listed as ‘unidentified’. There has also been no distinction made between the normal spinner dolphin and the unique miniature spinner dolphin in the region.
“The Government’s responses to questions about theses issues remain woefully inadequate. They need to commit to commissioning appropriate independent research, as a matter of priority,” Senator Siewert concluded.