Environment Minister David Templeman has supported moves by Geraldton MLA Shane Hill for a whole-of-government approach to managing the Galena Mining Heritage Area.
The area, 100km north of Geraldton on the banks of the Murchison River, is the site of the State’s first major mining operation which led to the development of Geraldton, Northampton and Port Gregory.
“The remains of the earliest mine date back to the 1850s and consequently the site is significant in terms of the Mid-west region’s cultural and social heritage,” Mr Templeman said.
“A plan for the area was completed in 2000 by the Galena Management Plan Steering Committee, a community interest group supported by the Shire of Northampton. However, this plan is now due for an update.
“I have asked the Department of Environment and Conservation to establish a committee to provide a strategic and co-ordinated approach to the future management of the Galena Heritage area.
“DEC will approach key stakeholders, including community groups, interested in conserving the Galena Heritage Area, and convene a committee to identify management strategies and responsibilities, as well as updating the 2000 Galena Management Plan.
“The next stage of planning should now include an assessment of the area’s native plants and animals and the threatening processes, such as wildfire and feral animals, affecting these values.
“The impacts and liabilities of remaining mine sites, mining infrastructure, and waste dumps and the associated risks to visitors also need to be fully considered.
“The Department of Environment and Conservation is consulting with the Shire of Northampton, the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council and the Department for Planning and Infrastructure to determine the most appropriate funding source to progress developing a more comprehensive assessment of the area.
“One option being considered is pursuing Caring for our Country funding which will be advertised towards the end of the year.
“Funds will be sought to undertake a survey of flora and fauna values and an inventory of areas disturbed by previous mining, to provide a sound basis to develop a more comprehensive management plan.
“It is appropriate that there be close consultation among key stakeholders, including indigenous and mining interests, to look at a range of issues in terms of managing the area for its heritage and natural values.
“Options for long-term management of the area would be addressed and could include creating a new park based on the regional park concept that would encompass the Galena area which adjoins Kalbarri National Park to the west.”
The Minister said the area consisted of a mixture of land tenure, including unallocated Crown land and unmanaged reserves.
“The Carpenter Government recognises the importance of putting in place the best management systems to ensure we protect and preserve our unique environment for future generations to enjoy,” he said.
Mr Hill said the Galena Mining Heritage Area was faced with increasing demands from both long-term and short- term users.
“This is in part because of the close proximity of the Kalbarri National Park, which attracts many visitors each year, but also because there is a keen interest in the rich cultural mining history of Western Australia,” he said.
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