- McGowan Labor Government implements Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund
- The Fund will receive contributions for strategic environmental initiatives to offset environmental impacts from mining and other companies
- State Budget includes $13 million in grant revenue and $9.3 million in project expenditure
The McGowan Labor Government has today announced steps to better protect the State's unique environment, with the implementation of the Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund.
The 2018-19 State Budget includes $13 million in grant revenue and $9.3 million in expenditure to implement the Fund. The Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund will receive financial contributions from mining and other companies that cannot otherwise mitigate the impacts of their operations on the environment.
This financial offset will be used to fund strategic environmental improvements in other areas of the Pilbara, to account for any residual impact a project may cause.
Pest, plant and animal control, fire management, erosion control, and on-ground works that improve native vegetation and/or habitat for threatened species such as the Ghost Bat, Greater Bilby and Pilbara Olive Python will be delivered through the Fund.
Where possible, projects will build on local conservation programs undertaken by natural resource organisations and traditional owner ranger groups to maximise conservation benefits and create local jobs.
Fortescue Metals Group, Hamersley Iron Pty Limited, Mount Bruce Mining Pty Limited and BHP will be among the first companies to pay into the Fund, to offset the impacts of their mining development in the Pilbara.
The Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund allows for multiple offset payments from several companies to be combined to deliver larger conservation projects or expand successful initiatives.
This approach enables strategic projects with much greater environmental benefits to be implemented, rather than multiple smaller activities that would otherwise occur.
Traditional owners, natural resource management organisations, conservation groups, industry and the research sector will advise government on projects to be implemented that will deliver strategic and lasting conservation benefits to the region.
The Fund contributes to the sustainable development of the Pilbara while also protecting its unique biodiversity and environmental values.
For more 2018-19 State Budget information, visit http://www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"The Pilbara is one of Western Australia's most important regions for its mineral wealth and rich biodiversity, and has a range of conservation projects both underway and planned.
"While industry is vital to the economic progress of our State, it needs to be balanced with conservation efforts for the region's precious environmental values.
"The Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund will deliver conservation work through a strategic, co-ordinated and landscape scale environmental offsets program leading to better conservation outcomes.
"Previously, offsets required by industry, as part of conditions to operate, were done in isolation and were difficult to implement. This new strategic approach by the McGowan Government balances development in the Pilbara with important conservation work.
"There are already fantastic partnerships between traditional owners, conservation agencies, industry and government that are delivering projects that enhance the local environment, and also engage traditional owners and rangers in work on their country. I look forward to this Fund assisting and expanding those efforts."
Minister's office - 6552 5800