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Long-term plan for Pilbara conservation77284Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements7250html1/02/2017 12:47:20 AM2017-01-31T23:00:00Za New strategy to enhance protection of regional biodiversity Integrated funding to maximise benefit from on-ground projects The Liberal National Government has released a landmark plan to deliver a new level of conservation management for the vast Pilbara region. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the new Pilbara Conservation Strategy would provide a landscape scale, co-ordinated approach to biodiversity conservation aimed at enhancing the region's rich and diverse plant and animal life. "Following the success of the Government's $103.6 million Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy, we are extending this proven landscape-scale method of managing key threats such as fire, feral animals and weeds, to the Pilbara," Mr Jacob said. "The Pilbara strategy aims to deliver improved conservation outcomes and enhance the region's high biodiversity and landscape values across property boundaries over the long term. "It brings together a range of stakeholders involved in the conservation of the Pilbara and creates opportunities for partnerships between State Government agencies, industry, traditional owners, non-government organisations, local governments, research institutions, pastoralists and individuals." The strategy identifies long-term strategic priorities to guide conservation actions, including through environmental offsets from major Pilbara resource and infrastructure projects. "The Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund will enable pooled offsets to be used for conservation projects that address the priorities identified in the strategy," the Minister said. "Over the past eight years, the Liberal National Government has delivered greater protection for the environment than any other Government in this State, including the passing of the most comprehensive biodiversity conversation laws seen in Western Australia. "The establishment of the Pilbara Conservation Strategy is an exciting initiative which will enhance the Pilbara's biodiversity while realising its economic potential." Fact File The Pilbara region covers an area of 178,000km2 and is one of only 15 national biodiversity hotspots The region has one of the richest reptile assemblages in the world, more than 125 species of acacia and more than 1,000 species of aquatic invertebrates Archaeological sites in the Pilbara contain the biggest concentration of rock art in the world, estimated at about one million engravings For more information, visit https// Minister's office - 6552 5800
Dryandra predator-proof fence complete78265Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements8120html31/01/2017 12:22:10 AM2017-01-30T23:40:00Za 1,000-hectare sanctuary established for important native species Numbat survey providing important data before enclosure is operational A new 1,000-hectare, predator-proof enclosure at the proposed Dryandra Woodland National Park will help numbats and other endangered species survive in the wild. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the 1.8 metre high, 14.7 kilometre fence, a Liberal National Government 2013 election commitment, had been completed and work would now start on removing feral predators from the site. "The $550,000 enclosure is designed to protect numbats, woylies and other threatened native species from predation by foxes and cats," Mr Jacob said. "The Department of Parks and Wildlife will now start removing feral predators from inside the fence prior to the translocation of native animals. "This work will be conducted as part of the Western Shield wildlife conservation program." The Minister said an area within the enclosure had already been surveyed for key baseline information about numbats. "As a haven for one of the last remaining wild populations of numbats, it is important we learn as much as we can about their distribution in specific areas of Dryandra Woodland so we can track changes once the sanctuary is operational," he said. The numbat diggings survey was conducted by Parks and Wildlife with the assistance of community action group Project Numbat, whose volunteers were trained in identifying the distinctive digging holes left by numbats feeding on termites. "Project Numbat's help with the numbat survey at Dryandra and at annual surveys at Boyagin Nature Reserve near Brookton has provided invaluable support for the department - community collaboration is an important part of the conservation of this iconic Western Australian species," Mr Jacob said. Fact File The proposed Dryandra Woodland National Park is near Williams, about two hours south-east of Perth It is set to become the first national park solely located in WA's Wheatbelt region Minister's office - 6552 5800
New national park for the north Kimberley78404Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements12230html30/01/2017 5:05:24 AM2017-01-30T05:00:00Za New Wilinggin National Park to be created as part of the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy Australia's biggest national park a step closer The Liberal National Government's 2013 election commitment to create a landmark Kimberley National Park is on track, with the first section of park soon to be established in partnership with the Wilinggin traditional owners. The proposed Wilinggin National Park will be part of the Kimberley National Park, which is set to become Australia's biggest national park at around two million hectares. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the State had signed a new Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Wilinggin people and would create the Wilinggin National Park in the remote north Kimberley, which would protect the area's exceptional cultural and biodiversity values. "These remote landscapes contain ancient rock art sites, stone arrangements, burial sites, ceremonial sites and important mythological areas immensely significant to the Wilinggin traditional owners, who have continuing connections to their country," Mr Jacob said. "The Wilinggin National Park will be jointly vested and managed with Wilinggin traditional owners, and adjoins the soon to be renamed northern portion of the King Leopold Range Conservation Park, which will become known as the Wilinggin Conservation Park. "Wilinggin people will be employed as park rangers and take an active role in park management through a joint management body." The new park will have visitor facilities including campground and day-use sites for tourists experiencing the rugged and spectacular Kimberley. The Wilinggin National Park covers an area of about 740,000ha, and is part of the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy, the State Government's $103.6 million initiative successfully protecting and enhancing the Kimberley region's unique natural assets. Wilinggin National Park will incorporate parts of the existing Prince Regent and Mitchell River national parks, and connect conservation reserves from the King Leopold Ranges up to the Mitchell River - a distance of more than 200 kilometres. Fact File Creation of the new park will lead to employment and business opportunities for the Wilinggin traditional owners The park's rich cultural heritage and natural beauty offer a variety of unique visitor experiences, such as four-wheel driving, camping or hiking to look at ancient rock art, gorges and waterfalls Minister's office - 6552 5800
Work starts on new Parks and Wildlife HQ in Bunbury78553Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements360html25/01/2017 1:00:07 AM2017-01-25T01:00:00Za BCL Group starts landscaping at Koombana Bay for new office building $28.9 million Royalties for Regions investment will benefit locals and visitors Construction of the Department of Parks and Wildlife's new Bunbury headquarters has started, creating hundreds of new jobs over the next 10 years in the region. Visiting the Koombana Bay site today, Environment Minister Albert Jacob said Bunbury would reap the benefits of the Liberal National Government's commitment to establishing the first State Government department headquarters outside of Perth. "BCL Group has started the first stage of construction and this is very exciting news for the community," the Minister said. "This degraded site on the city's doorstep will be transformed as part of an overall tourism precinct vision. "The area will be enhanced with a permanent pedestrian link between the Leschenault Inlet and Koombana Bay. Bunbury residents will also benefit from walk trails, a new lookout, upgraded boardwalks and other public facilities." Mr Jacob said the project would create 135 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase, and 600 direct and indirect jobs once the headquarters were fully operational, generating an estimated $75 million per year for the region's economy. "Not only will the development bring scientific, conservation and land management expertise to the region, it will also encourage local graduates and people interested in a career with the agency to stay in the area," he said. Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the development, made possible by a $28.9 million investment from Royalties for Regions, would be significant for locals as well as visitors to the region. "Bunbury residents will be able to enjoy greater options for recreational activities with the improved parkland, walk trails, boardwalks and lookouts as part of the precinct that includes the new headquarters as well as the Dolphin Discovery Centre and Koombana Bay redevelopment," Mr Redman said. "This investment is a major step forward for the region and is expected to reinvigorate Bunbury as the tourism gateway to the South-West." Fact File The Liberal National Government is also investing $45.63m from Royalties for Regions Growing our South to revitalise Koombana Bay and the Dolphin Discovery Centre Find out more about Royalties for Regions at https// Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800 Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700
More camping sites for Lucky Bay visitors78394Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements380html19/01/2017 12:04:59 AM2017-01-18T23:00:00Za More camp sites are coming in 2017 at spectacular Lucky Bay on the south coast $2.95 million from Royalties for Regions The expansion of camping facilities at Lucky Bay east of Esperance, rated among Australia's best beaches, will continue this year with another $2.95 million thanks to the Liberal National Government's investment in Western Australian camping and caravanning initiatives. Premier and Tourism Minister Colin Barnett said the Stage 2 redevelopment of the campground would include establishment of eight to 10 premium camp sites with their own deck or verandah, their own ablutions and camp kitchen. "Lucky Bay, in Cape Le Grand National Park, is one of the most beautiful areas in WA and this is a significant boost to tourism in this region," Mr Barnett said. "This is an example of how the Liberal National Government has invested in our national parks to make them more attractive and more affordable as holiday destinations." The funding is made possible by Royalties for Regions through the $198 million Goldfields Esperance Revitalisation Fund. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the recently opened Stage 1 works had created 62 camp sites on two camping loops overlooking the spectacular white sands of Lucky Bay, allowing more people to experience the beauty of the magnificent area. "Stage 1 of the Lucky Bay redevelopment included a new, larger day use area, sealed roads within the campground, new paths for beach access, a bore and water supply tanks, two new barbecue shelters and a toilet," Mr Jacob said. "The Government has committed to significantly increasing affordable camping opportunities by providing 450 new camp sites throughout WA and so far we have completed 420 of these, a wonderful outcome for the community." The $3.1 million Stage 1 redevelopment was made possible by the State Government's Royalties for Regions investment in the four-year $21.05 million Parks for People initiative, as part of the Caravan and Camping Action Plan 2013-2018. Regional Development Minister Terry Redman encouraged people to visit the regions and spend time in local campgrounds and national parks as an affordable holiday option. "I am pleased to see the Royalties for Regions investment in more recreational opportunities that will create positive visitor experiences. This helps boost regional tourism and create vibrant regional communities and a sustainable economy," Mr Redman said. Fact File The total investment in the Lucky Bay campground Stage 2 is $3.9 million, including $950,000 from the Department of Parks and Wildlife There were 154,000 visits to Cape Le Grand National Park in 2015-16 Find out more about Royalties for Regions at https// Premier and Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5000 Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800 Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700
Swimming with humpback whales continues78529Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements390html17/01/2017 11:30:10 PM2017-01-17T23:30:00Za 1,644 tourists swam with humpback whales at Ningaloo in 2016 Increased booking for whale shark tours and accommodation The Liberal National Government will proceed with a second year of the swimming with humpback whale trial in Ningaloo Marine Park in 2017. Preliminary results from the inaugural trial from August to November 2016 were encouraging, with 1,644 people experiencing swimming with these giants of the ocean. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the trial, undertaken with licensed operators that already delivered swimming with whale shark tours, aimed to determine the environmental sustainability and risks to swimmers and whales. "The Department of Parks and Wildlife regulates the interactions so the tour operators have rules in place to minimise the risk to swimmers and disturbances to humpback whales, while still ensuring visitors have a unique experience of nature," Mr Jacob said. "Most visitor responses from a trial survey were complimentary about the experience and a social research study during the trial also gave positive results. On this basis, the trial will continue this year so we can gather more information about human interaction with these great creatures." The Minister said the trial boosted nature-based tourism in the World Heritage-listed marine park, with a significant increase in whale shark tour passengers on the back of interest in the humpback swimming tours. "Passenger numbers for whale shark tours were up by an unprecedented 32 per cent in 2016, giving a boost to the local Exmouth and Coral Bay economy," he said. "More than 27,500 people took part in whale shark tours at Ningaloo, up from 20,834 in 2015 indicating the growing public awareness of Ningaloo and interest in the trial. This clearly demonstrates the economic benefits of the Liberal National Government's commitment to growing eco-tourism in this State." An extra 3,500 passengers were recorded during the main whale shark season from March 1 to July 31 and the remainder throughout August, September and October, when the Government also trialled tours for in-water interaction with humpback whales. Exmouth accommodation bookings for July to October 2017 through travel website Expedia are up by more than one-third compared with the same time last year, which is attributed to interest in the swimming with humpback whale trial. Fact File 2016 was the longest-running whale shark season on record with more than 1,600 tours completed Minister's office - 6552 5800
Approval for Yeelirrie uranium project78118Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2270html16/01/2017 8:23:54 AM2017-01-16T08:15:00Za Cameco's Yeelirrie uranium project approval subject to 17 strict conditions Western Australia's four uranium projects have the potential to create 1,500 jobs and a $1 billion per year export industry The Liberal National Government has granted environmental approval for Cameco's Yeelirrie uranium project, subject to 17 strict conditions. The decision follows a rigorous environmental assessment process, significant public consultation and agreement between Environment Minister Albert Jacob and the Ministers for Water, Mines and Petroleum, Aboriginal Affairs and State Development. Premier Colin Barnett said Western Australia had very significant uranium reserves and the Yeelirrie deposit was particularly large by world standards. "Australia has been producing and exporting uranium for peaceful purposes for more than 30 years and it is high time that Western Australia with our significant reserves, became part of that industry," Mr Barnett said. "Australia's international treaties guarantee that uranium can only be used for peaceful purposes. We should also remember that nuclear medicine is also an important part of our health care system." State Development Minister Bill Marmion said uranium was an important industry for Western Australia. "Clearly, this project has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits to the State should it proceed," Mr Marmion said. "The Liberal National Government supports a well-regulated uranium industry for the jobs and economic growth potential it provides and for the clean energy production it supports." In its report on the project, located in the northern Goldfields, the Environmental Protection Authority advised the proposal was acceptable for eight of nine key environmental factors, including protecting human health. However, it recommended against approval because there was potential for the loss of species of stygofauna and troglofauna in the project area. Stygofauna and troglofauna are small creatures, predominantly crustaceans, that live permanently underground in water and in soils. Mr Jacob said in deciding to grant approval, the Government had considered broader economic and social matters, as well as environmental factors. Conditions have been applied to the proposal requiring Cameco to undertake further surveys and research to improve knowledge of underground fauna and measures to minimise impacts on these species. "Further surveys may identify that the species currently only found within the project area are more widespread. I have therefore mandated as part of this approval further survey work and investment in research," he said. Mr Jacob said he had also taken on board input from public appeals against the project and advice from the departments of Water and Parks and Wildlife, and would tighten conditions on flora and vegetation, offsets and the public availability of management plans. "The Liberal National Government is committed to ensuring this and the other three uranium mines approved for construction and operation in Western Australia are subject to best-practice environmental and safety standards," he said. If they proceed, the approved uranium proposals - Vimy's Mulga Rocks, Toro Energy's revised Wiluna uranium proposal and Cameco's Kintyre and Yeelirrie projects - will create about 1,500 jobs and a potential $1 billion a year export industry in Western Australia, based on prices rising to economic levels. Mr Barnett said he welcomed today's approval and looked forward to Western Australia becoming a significant uranium producer as was already the case in South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Fact File The Cameco project will have an operational life of 18 years and capital and operating costs of $5 billion It is expected to employ an average of 225 people during operations and up to 1,200 people during peak construction Premier's office - 6552 5000 Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800 State Development Minister's office - 6552 6800
Work starts on Parks and Wildlife Bunbury office78554Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements270html13/01/2017 12:00:14 AM2017-01-13T00:00:00Za Tender for Parks and Wildlife Bunbury office awarded to BCL Group Pty Ltd Project will create 135 jobs Construction of the Department of Parks and Wildlife's new Bunbury headquarters is set to start, with the tender for the first stage awarded to BCL Group Pty Ltd. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the project at Koombana Bay would create hundreds of jobs as part of the Liberal National Government's commitment to decentralise public sector agencies and stimulate economic growth in regional areas. "The construction phase alone will create 135 direct and indirect jobs and when the building becomes operational, 100 Parks and Wildlife staff will permanently move to Bunbury. Within 10 years, the number of Parks and Wildlife staff in Bunbury is expected to be 300," Mr Jacob said. The first of three stages of works includes landscaping, creation of a corridor to link Leschenault Inlet with Koombana Bay, walkways, car parks, interpretive works, a new lookout and an education centre. "This new centre will be a state-of-the-art visitor gateway for the South-West," Mr Jacob said. "The project highlights the importance the State Government places on encouraging people to visit national and marine parks and other natural attractions of the greater south-west region." The development has been made possible with an investment of $28.9 million from the State Government's Royalties for Regions. Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said BCL had extensive experience in the delivery of regional public works and landscaping projects. "The influx of specialist staff at the new headquarters and the ability to recruit additional staff from the local workforce will assist in the attraction and retention of regional residents," Mr Redman said. "Economic modelling shows positive growth from the project, with a total population benefit for the region estimated at 1,545 people, providing an economic output of $75 million a year. "This development, when added to the redevelopment of Koombana Bay and the Dolphin Discovery Centre, will support the transformation of the region and contribute towards an engaging tourism precinct to welcome visitors to our magnificent South-West." Fact File The tender with BCL Group Pty Ltd is worth $5.6 million excluding GST Office accommodation construction is expected to be completed by late 2018 Find out more about Royalties for Regions at https// Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800 Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700
More wet feet and muddy hands in Kings Park78397Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements250html11/01/2017 1:30:16 AM2017-01-11T01:30:00Za ​Rio Tinto commits $3m for more adventure in Naturescape at Kings Park More children will be able to connect with nature thanks to a $3 million expansion of Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said children would enjoy new features including a bigger creek and rock pool, an aerial walkway almost seven metres high, a hidden tunnel, more climbing and balancing features, and a new cubby zone. "This is an important project because it enables children to appreciate the outdoors by getting wet and muddy, climbing ropes and rocks, and building cubbies in a natural setting," Mr Jacob said. "Unstructured time spent outdoors in nature is a critical part of a healthy childhood and a valuable part of a child's learning and development. It's also important for the future conservation of our environment. "In our increasingly urbanised and structured lives, having fun in the natural environment, away from computer screens and our busy schedules, is good for all of us. "Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park has established itself as a world leader in connecting children with nature since it opened in 2011. These exciting new additions will bring even more opportunities to explore and learn in this unique space. "We are fortunate that we have this park to give children a sense of immersion in the bush in the heart of our city." The expansion also includes new outdoor teaching facilities. Demand for education programs has tripled to 24,000 participants per year since Rio Tinto Naturescape became the new home of Kings Park Education in 2012. The site will close from February 1, 2017 while work is underway and is expected to re-open by early 2018. The project is fully funded by Rio Tinto, which has been a strong supporter of the facility since 2008. Fact File Rio Tinto is providing $9 million over 12 years for this facility Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park attracts 80,000 visitors per year Kings Park education programs will continue in alternative venues around the park in 2017 Minister's office - 6552 5800
Roe 8 court decision welcome78440Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements1260html9/01/2017 4:38:42 AM2017-01-09T04:35:00Za Federal Court rules out an injunction to stop work on Roe 8 construction Environment Minister Albert Jacob has welcomed today's Federal Court decision to refuse an interim injunction on the construction of Roe Highway stage 8. Mr Jacob said work would now continue following the Federal Court decision on the application, which was made by the Save Beeliar Wetlands group. "The Federal Court case related to whether one of the Commonwealth environmental approval conditions had been satisfied," he said. "The condition is concerned with offsetting the loss of black cockatoo habitat by way of offset property. The State Government is confident that the condition has been satisfied and will continue to vigorously defend the case in the Federal Court and oppose any permanent injunction." Under the Commonwealth conditions, Main Roads Western Australia is required to purchase 523 hectares of black cockatoo habitat to offset the loss of 78ha of the total 97.8ha that will be cleared for Roe 8. The State Government is providing 624ha of offset land containing black cockatoo habitat, equal to one-and-a-half times the size of Kings Park, at two sites south of Mandurah. Main Roads is required to fund the management of the property to maintain the quality of the habitat for at least 20 years. The Minister said the project had been subject to an exhaustive environmental assessment and was governed by stringent environmental conditions. "This Liberal-led Government is committed to the extension of Roe Highway. It will take tens of thousands of trucks off suburban streets in the southern suburbs and will drastically improve road safety and traffic flow," Mr Jacob said. "This project is also delivering more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs over its life - jobs that Labor will trash if it is elected on March 11 with its plan to rip up the construction contracts and cancel work." Fact File About $45 million has been invested in the Roe 8 project to specifically accommodate the environmental sensitivities and to provide improved access to the area Minister's office - 6552 5800