The Liberal National Government will establish a new conservation implementation framework to maximise the value of environmental offsets from major industrial projects that are approved for the Pilbara.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the Pilbara was one of Western Australia's most important regions for its mineral wealth and rich biodiversity, and a new approach was needed to deliver on-ground conservation work through environmental offsets.
"Until now, environmental offsets for biodiversity conservation in the Pilbara have been implemented on a project-by-project basis," Mr Jacob said.
"The new conservation fund will ensure a more strategic, co-ordinated application of environmental offsets. This will deliver better conservation outcomes and give the community and industry greater confidence in the State's environmental assessment processes."
Under the new management framework, a Pilbara Strategic Conservation Fund will pool funds from environmental offsets conditioned under resource and infrastructure projects approved under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
A Regional Conservation Strategy will be prepared by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority with industry and stakeholders groups.
The Minister said that since 2011, 22 Pilbara mining and infrastructure projects had been approved on the basis that they contributed funds to the initiative to offset the significant residual environmental impacts of projects.
Offset funding will become available to implement approved conservation projects consistent with the conservation strategy.
Mr Jacob said in developing the new framework, he considered advice from an industry working group which supported a co-ordinated approach to delivering offsets for biodiversity conservation in the Pilbara.
"I applaud industry for its involvement, because this initiative is designed to ensure mining development in the Pilbara can continue to support the economy of WA while improving and better managing the region's environment."
Pilbara Strategic Conservation Fund to pool approved environmental offsets funds
Regional conservation strategy for the Pilbara to guide conservation projects
Conservation projects funded by offsets to be approved by the Environment Minister
Minister's office - 6552 5800