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A nuclear free state
I’ve campaigned against uranium mining and the nuclear industry for decades, and this year will be critical. As we head toward the first anniversary of the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, our state government forges ahead unabated with plans for uranium mining in WA. This year I will work with my fellow Greens and people of common sense across the state to ban uranium mining permanently. With Mark McGowan’s backflip signaling the starter’s gun for a race to open a uranium mine – this year will see the campaign extend across the desert, into the courts and onto the streets.
My parliamentary speech expressing grief at the disaster in Fukushima is here. I’ve created a straight shooting video setting out the health risks for workers and communities near uranium mines – it’s here. My media release outlines the concerns about the proposed Uranium mine at Wiluna.
10c can make a difference
Greens across the country are working to establish container deposit schemes – a 10c refund for recycling cans and bottles. Victorian Green Colleen Hartland has developed an excellent model, which is being applauded across the country, and I’ve picked up the model in my private member’s bill. The ALP also has a Bill, using the Greens model. It’s great to see growing support for the legislation and we’ll keep pushing for this one until it becomes a reality. WA is currently the worst recycler in the country, and this scheme could make the world of difference. You can read more about my Bill here.
Renewable energy and optimism
Meeting the climate change challenge can seem daunting, but for me there is real optimism in the growth of the renewable energy industry. In 2011 the State government was overwhelmed by community support for renewable energy, and the government’s initial forecast was dwarfed by the actual demand for the household solar panel feed-in tariff. Unfortunately the Minister reacted by axing the scheme – but the fact remains that the community wants to move to renewable energy. The Barnett government provides massive subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, like $89 million to re-open the oldest dirtiest coal fired generators at Collie, and $124 million for the James Price point gas hub. At full production this gas hub alone would have the same annual CO2 emissions as the whole of Singapore.
Details of the debate on my private members bill for a gross freed in tariff for all renewable energy generation are here. This bill was defeated in the upper house, but has opened doors for more work in the area. More on climate change and the state government’s support for the fossil fuel industry is in my budget reply speech.
Singing the songlines
The destruction of Aboriginal heritage is in many ways facilitated by the ironically named Aboriginal Heritage Protection Act. The Act gives the Minister the final say, and allows mining companies to appeal, without giving the same right to Aboriginal custodians. This year we have seen industry proceed with destruction of heritage sites, backed by the State government, flouting even the minimal requirements of the Aboriginal Heritage Act. I’ve lodged complaints, and asked a series of questions in parliament in support of Traditional Owners’ efforts to protect sacred sites, including those at James Price Point in the Kimberley. I’m calling for an inquiry into FMG and the state government’s handling of their applications to destroy Yindjibarndi sites in the Pilbara. You can see more on my website here.
All the best for the coming year, I look forward to working with you,
Robin Chapple, MLC
Connect with the Greens
Robin Chapple MLC Mining and Pastoral Region, Alison Xamon MLC East Metropolitan Region,
Lynn MacLaren MLC South Metropolitan Region, Giz Watson MLC North Metropolitan Region
www.wa.greens.org.au Greens in Federal Parliament www.greenmps.org.au