Friday, June 3, 2011

Mark Parnell moves new motion to protect Arkaroola

Hodgkinsons - a major scar in the spectacular Yudnamutana Gorge: erosion gullies in this supposedly 'rehabilitated' mining industry exploration target in Arkaroola - click to see more

I've attached Greens MLC Mark Parnell's supporter notification of a parliamentary motion calling on the state government to guarantee the full protection of the mountains of Arkaroola below.

This comes to a vote this Wednesday, the 8th of June.

Dear friends,

Last week in Parliament I moved the following motion:

That this council—

1. Notes that it has been almost 40 months since the initial discovery of illegal waste disposal and vandalism by Marathon Resources in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary; and

2. Calls for the state government to urgently guarantee permanent protection for the iconic and majestic mountains of Arkaroola.

To read my speech, go to:

Enough is enough. The State Government needs to reassure the people of South Australia that they will permanently protect Arkaroola from mining. The longer this issue drags on, the greater the risk that Marathon Resources will be allowed to bring their drill rigs back on-site.

The motion will be voted on in the Upper House on Wednesday 8th June. If you would like to help show your support for protection of Arkaroola, please contact Premier Mike Rann, Mining Minister Tom Koutsantonis, and Opposition leader Isobel Redmond.

I thoroughly recommend that you follow the link to Mark's speech, and that you contact the politicians he has indicated.

It is particularly a 'walk-the-talk' test for the Liberal Party.

Leader Isobel Redmond announced - commendably - that the Liberals would move to protect Arkaroola in September last year. In order to do so they have focussed on reinforcing the conditions of the Class A Environmental Zone that covers much of the northern Flinders -

To that end the Liberals will need to amend the appropriate legislation to prevent any reduction in the level of environmental protection that exists under Zone A as it relates to Arkaroola.

I have frequently argued that the terms of the Class A Zone, if understood in English, mean that there is virtually no chance of Marathon being able to establish a mine in Arkaroola. To show why I'll borrow the summation Redmond uses in her media release -

Zone A Protection makes it clear that mining should not take place unless the deposits are of paramount importance and their exploration is in the highest national or state interest. [Emphases are in the original]

So, it's two strikes and you're out for Marathon!

And it seems that even they agree. Here's what they write on Page 61 of their recently released submission on 'Seeking a Balance', the state government's 'mining access' plan for the northern Flinders -

"The current planning arrangements for Environmental Zone Class A are clearly heavily weighted in favour of poorly defined, high value environmental criteria.[...]

Because of Arkaroola's Environmental Zone Class A status a potentially very large and valuable resource may never be developed because of a potential failure to meet the multiple criteria test. [emphasis mine]"

In fact, the whole of section 8.3 of their submission represents one long complaint about the nasty Class A Zone that protects the 'not iconic' Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and reveals that they had anticipated that Planning SA was going to move to a 'triple-bottom-line' exploitation criterion for the area. This would represent the kind of 'balance' Marathon are seeking, they tell us. The kind of 'balance' that puts their drilling rigs back in the heart of the sanctuary, no matter what the science says and what the people of SA may think about it.

Enough really is enough. This circus really has run waaaaaay too long. Note to the Liberals; Mark's motion does not get into specifics. The mechanism that provides the permanent protection for the mountains of Arkaroola remains to be determined.

But what is important is that the commitment be made. Unequivocally.

Before any more areas of the sanctuary have to bear the scars of exploration.

And any time you spent pointing this out to the people Mark suggests, Dear Reader, would be time well spent indeed as far as the wild landscapes of South Australia are concerned.


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thanks for your contribution - bill - i'm genuinely sorry about having to switch on the 'moderation' process but comment spammers have really been cluttering up this journal!