The Kimberley region in northern Western Australia is a globally significant natural and cultural landscape, home to rare and endangered wildlife and flora. It houses a marine wonderland of unique beauty and epic diversity.
The region has been compared to places like the Amazon, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Antarctic, in terms of majesty and scale of pristine, and healthy functioning, natural landscapes.
But the Kimberley is under threat with the land being quickly allocated out under mining leases. The powerful campaign against the plans to build the world’s largest oil and gas plant, and a deep-sea port, on the Kimberley coast, between Quondong and Walmadan (James Price Point), has recently been won, as the plan was shelved. This location is just 50km north of the tourist town of Broome, and is part of a very important Song Cycle and the Lurujarri Heritage Trail. It is also home to threatened turtles, dolphins, humpback whales, dugongs and bilbies. Regardless of its value or the fact that the projet was concluded to be economically unviable, the State Government has very recently acquired this land despite fierce opposition from the Indigenous people who live from this land and fight to protect their home, their cultural history, their food source and their sacred sites. Development in this area would destroy this culturally and environmentally significant place. If this happened we would lose one of the world’s last wild and un-industrialised areas.
Also a large petroleum lease in this area has also recently been given to Goshawk Energy. Clearly, despite a huge victory, this land is far from protected and much work still needs to be done.
In the wider Kimberley news only gets worse as there are mining leases littering most of the land and development is encroaching. Across the region, miners are exploring 25,000 km² for coal, over 120,000 km² for shale gas, that would be extracted by ‘fracking’, and more than 10,000 km² for bauxite. (Sydney’s urban area covers 1687 km²). The region is also facing exploration for oil, iron ore, copper, diamonds, rare earths, lead, zinc and uranium.
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