Thursday, June 9, 2011

more mysterious moments; mark's motion makes it!

mark parnell speaking outside marathon resources AGM - more images on flickr

Be it forever known that on Wednesday the 8th of June 2011 the following motion was carried in the Upper House of the South Australian Parliament -

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.

Greens MLC Mark Parnell's motion was carried 'on the voices'; great news!

But the truly strange thing is that both former mining minister Paul Holloway (Labor) and opposition environment spokesperson Michelle Lensink (Liberal) spoke against it!

But both spokespersons for the major parties were at pains to indicate that nothing terrible was going to happen to Arkaroola anyway via the plan they were developing!

Lensink is apparently coy about the use of the word 'vandalism' to describe what we'll call 'the fluorite incident'; "I think he [Mark P] is pushing the envelope a little bit too far." If you've forgotten the details, perhaps you could follow the link and see what you think, Dear Reader?

However, she re-encapsulated the Liberal's position and their proposal to protect Arkaroola -

...we found the government's document, 'Seeking a Balance'.... quite disturbing in that it sought to change the zoning of that area and, in fact, to water down the existing provisions that apply. Indeed, the environmental zone A [the Class A Zone BJD] protection that applies to that area states that mining should not take place unless the deposits are of paramount importance and their exploration is in the highest national or state interest that all other environmental and heritage matters can be overridden.

I think it is fair to say that my leader and I certainly share the view that, given there are some 30,000 tonnes of uranium oxide, potentially, at that site versus what is already a 2.5 million tonne deposit at Olympic Dam, it would be extremely unlikely that those national and state heritage and environmental interests would ever be overridden under those circumstances.

Indeed, my colleague the Hon. David Ridgway has tabled a bill in this place, the Development (Principles of Development Control—Mining Operations—Flinders) Amendment Bill, which was tabled in November last year and which sought to ensure that the zoning which applies cannot be watered down. [Emphasis mine]

On Labor's side former Minerals Minister Paul Holloway admitted that public responses to his government's Seeking a Balance 'mining access' plan "were overwhelmingly in favour of protecting Arkaroola from mining". He went on to outline the government's intentions -

On 22 February this year the Premier advised parliament that he had asked the Minister for Environment and Conservation and the Minister for Mineral Resources Development to lead a consultation process to identify the best conservation management framework for Arkaroola. This consultation process is currently under way. All options will be considered, including a permanent ban on mining, creating a national park and national heritage listing, with a possible view to seeking world heritage status in the future.

The consultation process, being led personally by the Minister for Environment and Conservation and the Minister for Mineral Resources Development, is well under way. It involves discussion with key stakeholders, namely, the leaseholders of the Arkaroola, Mount Freeling and Wooltana Pastoral Leases, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, who hold native title over the area, and several exploration and mining companies, including Marathon Resources, but also Heathgate Resources, Alliance Craton Explorer and Giralia Resources. Their views are being sought on the best options for conserving Arkaroola's unique values.

Following this consultation process the government will then be in a position to consider which option is the most appropriate to protect the values of Arkaroola. For those reasons this matter is being considered very earnestly by the government. We intend to come to a solution that will be acceptable to the community, and that is why we reject the motion, particularly part 2. Certainly, nothing will happen to Arkaroola either now or in the future that will damage the iconic areas of that region. [emphases mine]

(Let's see - the Premier proposes a ban on mining, a National Park, or heritage protection; these are strikingly different from the three options new Minerals Minister Tom Koutsantonis put to the electors of West Torrens, don't you think? Despite the fact that he is apparently 'personally leading' the self-same consultation process? Intriguing! )

Ann Bressington (Independent) and Kelly Vincent (Dignity for Disability) spoke strongly in favour of the motion to protect Arkaroola.

In fact, the proper protection of Arkaroola has the full support of the entire cross-bench. It's an embarrassment for the major parties, and something of a challenge to explain for those who deride the Upper House as somehow unrepresentative; here are the so-called 'special interests' speaking forthrightly for the majority in this matter, while the major parties are still so beholden to the power of the mining lobby - truly a special interest, if ever there was one! - that they have ended up tying themselves in logical knots!

Now, as you can see, no party wants to be seen to actively oppose protection for Arkaroola - a formal division wasn't called, and the vote was carried on voices!

It's a matter of record!

[PS - here's the link to the relevant Hansard - and here's Mark's take on facebook -

Great to see my Motion to permanently protect Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary passed in Parliament last night. Both Liberal and Labor are flip-flopping and mucking around on making a final decision, but neither was prepared to call a “division” when the vote was awarded to the Greens. So, the record stands: The Legislative Council wants Arkaroola protected. Over to you Premier.


1 comment:

  1. Which is a really round about way of saying that if someone found a few kilos of uranium under Light's Vision both major parties would find a 'back door' way of making sure the syphilitic old fella wasn't put 'off limits' for the mining industry.



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!