Geoff Evans providing information to Expo visitor at the Conservation Council WA Conference 23 November 2019.
The Expo was excellent, with the marquees and tables provided, making the set-up a very easy process. I was able to show case the DEC and Green Skills projects and success stories with many interested attendees at the conference.
There were excellent conference presentations and the time went all too quickly.
Good News from the Environmental Protection Authority
Environmental Protection Authority Annual Report 2019
Scott Coastal Plain
“The Scott Coastal Plain is highly valued for its biodiversity. The plain extends from Augusta in the west to Donnelly River in the east. The local community, led by the Denmark Environment Centre, wants the area recognised as a high-risk acid sulfate soils region”.
“The community is concerned that future development may cause acid leachate and damage an important biodiverse region with threatened ecological communities. Their concern comes amid growing demands on the Scott Coastal Plain from agribusiness and potential mining operations”.
“These demands could potentially place a risk to the environmental values of the region, and the catchment of the Scott River, Lake Jasper and the Gingilup Nature Reserve”.
“The EPA commends the Denmark Environment Centre for their time and hard work in raising this important issue with government and for the information contained in their strategic assessment, submitted in June 2019”.
“The EPA is aware of the cumulative impact on the region from mining activity, and the risk of acid leachate and environmental damage to an important biodiverse region. The EPA notes the high value of the region and in particular the importance of the Scott River Ironstone Association (a threatened ecological community), major coastal wetlands, dune system and ecotones and flora and fauna, including waterbirds”.
“The EPA also notes the high risk of acid sulfate soil levels in the area, and the potential impact that development could have on water quality in coastal floodplains, wetlands, rivers and creeks”.
“Any future proposals referred to the EPA for assessment will be considered in the context of the high biodiversity values of the Scott Coastal Plain and the risk of environmental impact from exposure of acid sulfate soils”.
“The state government has indicated support for protecting the conservation values of this region and has committed to reinstate the area of land previously excised from the D’Entrecasteaux National Park for the Jangardup mining proposal”.
Reference for this publication is:
Environmental Protection Authority 2019, Environmental Protection Authority: Annual report 2018–19, EPA, Perth, Western Australia.
15th September 2019
Its twelve months since the Yoondadadup Save Lake Jasper campaign commenced. For some of my colleagues it will be the second campaign and going further back to the exploration phase, it will be the third campaign.
There will be a series of updates, which cover the period from 1996 to the present time and they will provide a snap-shot of significant points.
The first deals with the Government commitment from 1996 during the Court Government era.
News update for the Save Yoondadadup Lake Jasper Campaign 28th August 2019
After sharing information with Diane Evers office, the following questions were asked in the Legislative Council, Thursday, 15 August 2019.
Questions in Parliament by Hon Diane Evers MLC and answers by Hon Stephen Dawson MLC Minister for the Environment.
Q: Has the government now progressed the reinstatement of land surrounding Lake Jasper into the D’Entrecasteaux National Park, consistent with the government’s stated intentions?
(a) If yes, what steps have been taken? (b) If no, when can the public expect further steps?
A: Yes. (a) I can confirm that it is the government’s intention to return the area of reserve 44705 to D’Entrecasteaux National Park. In early July 2019, I wrote to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum requesting favourable consideration of the necessary actions for the return of reserve 44705 and the inclusion of lot 100 to D’Entrecasteaux National Park. On 15 July 2019, the director general of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions requested the advice of the director general of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety on the specific actions necessary to facilitate the inclusion of these lands to the park. It should be noted that the south west native title settlement will need to take effect before these tenure changes can be completed.
After reviewing this answer, the following is the most recent information about commencement of South West Native Title agreements:
21 June 2019, Indigenous Land Use Agreements Registration Decisions – Progress of Judicial Review Applications.
On 30 and 31 May 2019 the Full Federal Court heard the applications for judicial review of the Native Title Registrar’s decisions to register the six South West Settlement Indigenous Land Use Agreements. At the hearing the applicants also sought leave to raise an additional ground for review arising from a recent decision in Northern Land Council v Quall. The Full Court agreed to hear this additional ground during their next sitting in late August/September 2019.
As a result, the Full Federal Court is unlikely to make a decision on the applications for judicial review until late 2019, meaning that the Settlement will not commence before early 2020.
The result of this means that, according to these answers from the Minister for Environment, we cannot expect any progress on the return of Lake Jasper to D’Entrecasteaux National Park until 2020 (at the earliest). For some of our members, who have been involved for over 30 years, 2020 seems very close and will go too quickly. While the Government is on record with its intention to follow through on this, we must remain vigilant.
The Principal Policy Adviser for the Minister for the Environment and the Principal Policy Adviser for the Minister for Mines have both assured us that processes are underway in both government departments to decline the mining application and return the excised land to the National Park after the Native Title Settlement has been (hopefully) completed in 2020.
The Denmark Environment Centre and D’Entrecasteaux Coalition, with the support of Diane Evers office:
- Will continue with parliamentary questions that seek further Government security of its ‘intentions’, (early 2020), which may remain in place in the event of any delays or change in government.
- We will also seek ongoing information about the progress of the Native Title settlement itself.
- We will continue with our important work keeping the community informed about Lake Jasper and ensuring it is returned into the national park. So long as the Government’s intentions are being monitored and held to account, Lake Jasper should be protected in principle from any possible mining activity.
We are cautiously optimistic and will keep you all informed of any developments.
Geoff Evans and Andy Russell
for, DEC and D’Entrecasteaux Coalition
Yes, I would like to help Save Lake Jasper
Please write your name and address in the space provided and copy and paste into your email and please send to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
The Premier, Hon. Mark McGowan MLA, confirmed in February 2019 that it was the Government’s intention to return the excised area (1) to the D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
Please show the Premier your support for the return of this area to the National Park.
Submission to the State Government’s ‘Plan for Our Parks’ initiative.
The following areas should be incorporated into the D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
The three areas listed below are ecologically important to Lake Jasper and the surrounding Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System. The nominated areas are hydrologically linked to Lake Jasper either through groundwater or as part of the Lake’s surface water catchment in winter. They provide essential buffer areas to Lake Jasper and should be incorporated into the D’Entrecasteaux National Park to ensure the long-term ecological sustainability of Lake Jasper, the Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System and associated wildlife.
1. Reserve 44705 (Lots 13472, 13473 and 13474) adjacent to Lake Jasper. This area was previously part of the D’Entrecasteaux National Park until excised in 1996. The excision has not changed the high ecological value of this environment. It is part of the important Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System and the area runs to within 300m of the summer shoreline of Lake Jasper. The land is part of Lake Jasper’s winter flood zone and surface water catchment area.
2. Lot 101 Plan 073871 north of Lake Jasper.
3. Lot 100 Plan 073871 north of Lake Jasper
The incorporation of these areas (2 and 3) into the D’Entrecasteaux National Park will provide an essential buffer for the Lake Jasper environment. The incorporation will improve environmental protection for Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetland System as impacts to surface water and groundwater on the lots, which flow towards the D’Entrecasteaux National Park, could be properly protected and managed.
Please confirm that you have included my submissions in the consultation process and let me know the outcome.
18 June 2019
Summary of meeting with Environment Minister’s Policy Advisers and Members of the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition and Denmark Environment Centre
Andy Russell, Wayne & Toni Webb and Geoff Evans, attended a meeting on Friday 14 June, with the Environment Minister’s Policy Advisers and discussed the process for reinstating the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands (the excised area adjacent to Lake Jasper) back into D’Entrecasteaux National Park. There was some debate about various matters arising from our recommendations.
Please find below; previous statements made by the Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for the Environment Stephen Dawson, details of the excised area and our recommendations.
Hon Stephen Dawson stated “the reinstatement of Lake Jasper into the conservation estate can occur concurrently with Plan for Our Parks.” (11 April 2019 letter to D’Entrecasteaux Coalition).
The Premier indicated in a letter to D’Entrecasteaux Coalition, 14 February 2019, that it is the Government’s intention to reinstate Reserve 44705 containing the part of the Gingilup – Jasper wetland system previously excised for the Jangardup mining proposal to the National Park.
Excised area of D’Entrecasteaux National Park (reserve 44705)
The excised area of the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands adjacent to Lake Jasper is currently a class 5 (1) (g) reserve. Reserve 44705 includes location 13472, 13473 and 13474.
The original area excised from D’Entrecasteaux National Park in 1996 was 368Ha. The current application for mining lease 70/1385, in August 2018 by Strategic Sands, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Strategic Energy Resources (SER), and is 498Ha, which includes land on private property.
The private property, Nelson Location 12897 comprising a portion of Lot/Plan 100/P073871 size 156.33Ha, vested with Conservation and Land Management Executive Body.
Adjacent to this 156.33Ha is private property owned by Cable Sands, Lot/Plan: 101/P073871, size 926.51Ha. which was to be part of a land-swap if Cable Sands’ old mining proposal did not proceed.
Recommendation 1: that the excised area adjacent to Lake Jasper, Reserve 44705, be reinstated into the D’Entrecasteaux National Park. To enable this process, in the first instance either the company SER must relinquish their mining lease application or the Minister for Mines not grant the mining lease.
Recommendation 2: to Hon Bill Johnston, Minister for Mines, that the mining lease 70/1385 not be granted
Recommendation 3: to Hon Bill Johnston, Minister for Mines, that the excised area adjacent to Lake Jasper in the Gingilup-Jasper wetland system, reserve number 44705 be protected by a Section 19, of the mining act to protect from mining/exploration, whilst going through the process of reinstating back into the National Park.
Recommendation 4: That the part of Lot/Plan 101/P073871 vested with the Conservation and Land Management Executive Body (156.33 ha) be transferred to D’Entrecasteaux National Park through a Reserves Bill or included in the ‘Plan for Our Parks’ process.
Recommendation 5: Negotiations with Cable Sands regarding the remainder (932.21 ha) of Lot/Plan 101/P073871 to be included in proposed D’Entrecasteaux National Park extension, which would provide a much-needed buffer on the northern boundary of Lake Jasper.
To conduct a Strategic Assessment on Acid Sulphate Soils in the Scott Coastal Plain and the potential cumulative impacts from all proposed and potential mineral sand mining and exploration on the Scott Coastal Plain. From Augusta in the west to Donnelly River in the east including Lake Jasper
Our proposal, which was tabled at this meeting, for a Strategic Assessment (under section 16e of the Environmental Protection Act) will require Ministerial approval. It will be circulated to the Premier, various Departmental Heads, Chairman of the EPA and Director of Conservation and Parks Commission. The Coalition’s report and recommendations were accepted and the Policy Advisers considered the report comprehensive and a copy was provided for the Minister for Environment.
The Coalition’s report noted that:
- Scott Coastal Plain – from Augusta to Donnelly River. That 80% of the region is documented as having a high to moderate risk of Acid Sulphate Soils (ASS).
- There are currently twelve mining tenements for mineral sands on the Scott Coastal Plain many within the areas recorded as high to moderate risk of ASS.
- These tenements are within the Scott River catchment; the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands System and Lake Jasper’s ground-water/shallow aquifer recharge zone.
- A gold exploration tenement on the Donnelly River Catchment. The lower section of which falls within areas of high to moderate ASS and with catchment sites exceeding ANZECC & ARMCANZ guideline trigger values for Aluminium.
- There are two former mineral sand mines on the Scott Coastal Plain; BHP Beenup and Cable Sands Jangardup have acid sulphate plumes moving through the shallow aquifer. These acid plumes were caused by the mining activity and are now migrating off-site. There are currently no plans to remediate them and have effectively become a community legacy.
- B Degens & P Wallace-Bell P 2009, Acid sulfate soil survey of shallow regolith on the Scott Coastal Plain, Department of Water, Government of Western Australia, Hydrogeological record series, Report no. HG24. Recommended further testing for ASS on the Scott Coastal Plain.
- Given the potential for mining activities (especially mineral sands mining) to disturb ASS a cumulative assessment into likely impacts (disturbance of ASS and groundwater contamination) needs to be carried out and a long-term sustainable plan for development on the Scott Coastal Plain determined.
The Strategic Assessment can be viewed or downloaded from our website http://www.savelakejasper.org.au
Via our Quick Links menu item.
Geoff Evans 0488933828 and Andy Russell 97761559
D’Entrecasteaux Coalition Co-Convenors Andy and Geoff and Aboriginal Elder Wayne Webb and Toni Webb attended a meeting with the Environment Minister’s Policy Advisers on 14 June to determine the process for reinstating the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands into D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
This was a very positive step as there was an excellent sharing of information to advance the Premier’s statement of intent to return the excised area adjacent to Lake Jasper back to D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
The D’Entrecasteaux Coalition has delivered a 26 page proposal document to the State Government for a long overdue Strategic Assessment of the acid sulphate threat to the Scott Coastal Plain between Augusta and Donnelly River.
After noting the increasing number of proposed mineral sand mines along the Scott Coastal Plain located in areas of high acid sulphate soils, the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition has called on the State Government to assess the potential cumulative social, environmental and economic impacts from an expansion of mineral sands mines with special focus on acid sulphate soil (ASS) dangers.
This was followed-up with a meeting with the Director, Conservation and Parks Commission to determine what assistance the Commission can provide to protect Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands.
A brief explanation about the Minister for Mines response to our petition and submissions
The recent announcement by the Premier and Minister for Environment that the application for a mining lease adjacent to Lake Jasper and within the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands would be suspended, whilst the Government considered the important environmental, heritage and cultural significance was warmly welcomed by the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition.
The above announcement was immediately followed-up by the successful petition to Protect Lake Jasper, with almost 1000 signatures, which was tabled in Parliament by Hon Diane Evers. Submissions were prepared in support of the petition, which were considered by the Standing Committee for Environment and Public Affairs.
A letter received in response to the petition and submissions from Hon. Bill Johnston, Minister for Mines, stated, and ‘I can confirm that on 6 August 2018 the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations, and Safety (DMIRS) received an application by Strategic Sands Pty Ltd for Mining Lease 70/1385 (M70/1385) I am advised by DMIRS there were no objections lodged to the application and it was compliant with the Mining Act 1978 (Mining Act).”
This raises the question, why were there no objections noted from the conservation movement or community groups and individuals. When a petition six months later had almost a thousand names submitted?
During the former Liberal Government’s roll back of environmental protection, the then state government changed the system of mining lease application notification, such that these applications were no longer required to be published in local newspapers. These changes to the Mining Regulations (No. 4) 2012 were published in the Government Gazette. How many people read the Government Gazette?
There is now only an on-line notification system through DMIRS. Checking applications or changes to all mining tenements can only be accessed through logging-on to the Mineral Titles Online website.
Given these changes to reporting of new mining lease applications it is easy to find why no objections to the application, (M70/1385), adjacent to Lake Jasper were received by DMIRS.
It must also be pointed out that the Department and the Mining Warden would have been fully aware of the sensitive nature of any mining lease application next to Lake Jasper. This is because of the long community campaign to protect Lake Jasper and the Gingilup-Jasper Wetlands that started in 1996, which involved over 200 registered objections at the Mining Warden’s Court.
Given the history of community concern over mining near Lake Jasper it should have been procedure for the DMIRS or the Mining Warden to notify the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition or the state’s peak environmental body, the Conservation Council WA, of the mining lease application.
Not only will the D’Entrecasteaux Coalition continue to defend the Lake Jasper environment it will now also work for changes to be made to the way mining leases are advertised to ensure that the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations and Safety is open and transparent and responsive to the community and not just the mining industry.
Geoff Evans 0488933828 and Andy Russell 97761559