Freinds of Australian Rock Art – FARA: Oswal’s Latest Burrup Proposal Gets Big Tick from WA State Government – stand up for the Burrup

20 January 2011
Release: Immediate
Attention: Chiefs of Staff, news editors, business reporters

Oswal’s Latest Burrup Proposal Gets Big Tick
from WA State Government

The WA Environmental Protection Authority’s approval on 10 January 2011 of an application by Burrup Nitrates Pty Ltd, led by Indian entrepreneur Pankaj Oswal, to build an explosives component plant on the Burrup Peninsula raises serious questions about the ability of the State Government to credibly regulate industry in Western Australia.

This EPA-approved site is located in the middle of the world’s oldest and largest rock art location containing what is understood to be the earliest known representations of the human face, dating back to 30,000 years ago – a site where the State Government has continually fostered intrusive industrial development.

In 2002, the State Labor Government encouraged Mr Oswal to locate his Burrup Fertilisers plant on the Burrup Peninsula by offering over $136 million in tax payer-funded infrastructure and direct assistance funds. Despite a later history of ammonia spills, fires and other safety issues at the Burrup Fertilisers plant, and an explicit acknowledgement by the EPA of the proposed disturbance of registered archeological sites and the assessment of ‘moderate negative impact’ on rock art, the EPA approved this application to establish an Ammonium Nitrate plant – not far from the combustible Burrup Fertilisers and Woodside LNG plants.

Although Burrup Fertilisers itself has now been placed in receivership by secured lender ANZ Bank, and Mr Oswal is apparently decamping to Dubai, there is every indication that partners will continue plans for a Burrup Nitrates plant adjacent to Burrup Fertilisers.

The State Government’s abject failure to effectively regulate industry on the Burrup will come at an enormous cost – the slow destruction of an irreplaceable World Heritage rock art precinct that contains a chronology of mankind’s history.


Appeals against the EPA’s decision must be made before Monday, 24 January to:
Address: Level 22 Forrest Centre,
221 St George’s Terrace PERTH WA 6000
Tel: (08) 6467 5190
Fax: (08) 6467 5199

Documents are available here.

Judith Hugo, FARA Co-convenor,

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