West Australia – Forests, Fracking and Uranium

Paradigm Shift 17 May 2019 (4ZZZ fm 102.1 Friday at Noon)

This week we get a bit of an update on what’s happening to the environment in Western Australia. Hear about forests, fracking and uranium mining. Plus some of the best political music in the west.

Andy interviews Jess Beckerling (WA Forest Alliance convenor ), Paddy Colin, K A Garlick (WA Forest Alliance),

Notes on West Australia – Forests, Fracking and Uranium.

Jess Beckerling who has spent 20 years of activism advocating for WA Forests which had a great bioversity which is being destroyed. Unique flora and fauna like Numbats (an insectivorous marsupial native to Western Australia) and Quokkas (wallaby unique to S-W Western Australia). 90% loss of original vegetation in places like the wheat belt. WA forests are unusual in that they have grown in isolation from the rest of the world through many millenia. There are ancient soils. Unique Eucalypt trees like Jarrah, Red Gum, Karri, Wandoo and Tuart.

Deforestation near Kunnanurra in NW WA photo: alana v hunt

The Great Western woodland is 90% cleared despite blockade campaigns in the 1990s. The Jarra forest region of WA is recognised globally as a significant hotspot of plant biodiversity and endemism.  Logging of Karri forests is a financial loss with the timeber sold for firewood, paper and wood chip. Restrictions placed by regional forest agreement on native forest logging was overruled by Richard Court and John Howard through federal legislation.

No Environmental Impact Statement required (Green tape has been removed). There is a specific exemption from environmental legislation so that they can log areas without an EIS. The McGowan Labor government has not had proper consultation and formal agreements for logging have been approved. Jess advocates for Forests for Life and Farm forestry which is the incorporation of commercial tree growing into existing farming systems.

Paddy Colin is campaigning against fracking in WA. Fracking is proposed as an alternative to offshore gas rigs. WA government proposes to frack an area the size of Tasmanian which will produce six times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Activism includes participation in the May Day march, Lock the Gate, and exposing Twiggy Forest. WA is one of the largest producers of LNG in the world.

KA Garlick  is from the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance which is an Aboriginal/environmental alliance. No uranium mines in WA because of strong campaigns in the past by People for Nuclear Disarmament. A Canadian Uranium mining company (Cameco) wants to mine uranium at Yeelirrie 1,079km north east of Perth. The WA Conservation Council says that it has the support of members of the Tjiwarl people, the native title holders over the Yeelirrie area, in pursuing the action against Uranium. Environment Minister Melissa Price signed off on a uranium mine in WA just prior to the federal election. Proposes a 9km mine pit over 2400 heactares which will destroy native vegetation.

Playlist
Stella Donnelly – Beware of the dogs
Formidable Vegetable – Plant some trees
Last Quokka – Australia fair
Carla Geneve – Red rocks
The Victims – Television addict

Notes by Ian Curr

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