The D'Entrecasteaux national park near Augusta could increase in size by more than 1,000 hectares of land if a proposed mining arrangement proceeds under strict environmental guidelines, according to Lands Minister George Cash.
The Minister said there was a proposed arrangement - currently before Parliament - to excise 368 hectares from the park to enable mining company Cable Sands to evaluate the deposit and all related environmental and Aboriginal cultural issues on the land.
He said as part of the proposed arrangement, Cable Sands would transfer more than 1,000 hectares of their freehold land - which adjoins the park - to Conservation and Land Management as a `C' class reserve, while mining feasibility studies took place.
Mr Cash said that if mining did proceed - following the necessary environmental approvals - the company would restore the vegetation on the 368 hectares to national park standards once the operation was concluded and then return the land to CALM for the national park. The additional land in the `C' class reserve would be retained by CALM and could be incorporated into the park.
In his second reading speech to the Legislative Council last week, Mr Cash said the excision of land from the park had been agreed to by the previous Labor Government under its Resolution of Conflict policy. The policy was initiated by the Labor Government to provide for the excision of various pieces of land in a range of national parks throughout the State.
The Minister said it was simply a proposal at this stage, because the Government's policy on any changes to Class A reserves - such as the D'Entrecasteaux national park - had to be considered by both the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly.
The 368 hectares would remain under the management of CALM to ensure the same conservation standards as the rest of the park.
"This Government does not advocate wholesale exploration and mining in national parks, but consideration must be given when proposals plan to meet stringent environmental guidelines and include a potential major bonus of increasing the park size by more than 1,000 hectares of land," Mr Cash said.
He said the inclusion of more than 1,000 hectares of land in the arrangement was important to CALM because the area would be a valuable vegetation buffer zone to protect the water quality in nearby Lake Jasper.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595