Three Australian Greens Senators are visiting Broome and the Kimberley this week to host a community forum and discuss alternatives to the threat of industrialisation, which continues to loom over the region.
WA Greens Senators Rachel Siewert and Scott Ludlam have been joined by Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters for the visit, which will include a public forum, meetings with community members and a flyover visit of shale gas wells, a new threat to the local environment.
"The Greens have led political efforts to protect the Kimberley and James Price Point from an unsustainable future of pollution and industrialisation, and we're the only party continuing this work in the lead up to the Federal election," Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
"I have no doubt that left unchecked, Premier Barnett will continue work to turn the Kimberley into another mining region, regardless of the substantial damage to the environment, culture and heritage of the region," said Senator Siewert.
"The Australian Greens are the only party concerned about protecting WA's water supplies from a future shale gas industry," Senator Larissa Waters said.
"Shale gas is the latest onslaught to agricultural and regional communities by the big mining companies. Shale gas causes land disturbance through the drilling of wells through aquifers. The combination of drilling and fracking creates a significant threat of contamination and disruption of groundwater systems.
"Just a few weeks ago federal Labor refused to protect our water supplies from shale gas - when the Greens moved an amendment to the water trigger in the Senate. The trigger requires the impacts on water of coal seam gas to be assessed at the federal level, but because of Labor's failure shale gas production has been left out, leaving WA exposed to this potential pollution risk," said Senator Waters.
"Communities in Western Australia such as Broome are now left without a way to protect their precious water from the state government's plans to expand into shale gas fracking. The Government seems eager to please the big mining companies despite the cost to groundwater and the climate," Senator Ludlam said today.
"In WA, the regulation of shale gas fracking is being undertaken by the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum, the same department that is promoting a massive expansion of the industry. The Department operates under an Act that has limited legal powers to protect the environment, and has clearly confused its role as regulator with that of promoter."
"Only the Greens are standing up to the big mining companies to care for our land, water and climate for future generations," said Senator Ludlam.