Delegates at the 2021 annual Conservation Council of WA conference have welcomed the McGowan government’s decision to end native forest logging and condemned the proposed Woodside Scarborough LNG development as part of a statement issued from the conference
The conference – which gathered over 200 environment and conservation groups and leaders from across Western Australia – also welcomed the development of a ‘just transition plan’ for native forest industry workers in the Southwest of the state. The historic decision, which was announced earlier this month, will see 400,000 hectares of karri and Jarrah forests protected from destructive native forest logging.
Keynote presentations at the conference included CCWA President and ex Premier Prof. Carmen Lawrence who spoke about the need for a state-wide biodiversity conservation strategy, Victoria Park Mayor Karen Vernon on the importance of local government action on climate change, and CCWA Director Piers Verstegen who outlined the Council’s ‘Bold Vision’ for conservation, climate and communities in WA.
Conference delegates endorsed statements urging the McGowan Government to establish a state-wide biodiversity conservation strategy and respond to the latest warnings from the world’s climate scientists by passing laws that require an immediate reduction in carbon pollution.
The urgent need to prevent new gas developments that threaten the climate, environment and cultural heritage was a major theme of the conference, with presentations on the threats of gas fracking in the Kimberley, onshore gas developments Mid-west, and the controversial Woodside Scarborough LNG development on the Burrup Peninsula.
In the conference statement, delegates ‘condemned’ Woodside for its plans to proceed with the Scarborough gas development and called on investors to “withhold capital from this climate-wrecking project which would cause carbon pollution equivalent to 15 coal fired power stations and cause irreversible damage to ancient cultural heritage on the Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga)”.
The conference also called on all levels of government, industry and community to “work together to develop a just transition for workers in gas and other fossil fuel industries”.
Updates to the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act were discussed by participants, who received presentations from Aboriginal leaders and heritage experts about the need for new laws developed in consultation with Aboriginal groups and Traditional Owners.
The conference called on the McGowan Government and WA Parliament to pass laws ‘placing Aboriginal People and Traditional Owners at the centre of decision making on cultural heritage’, and to remove ‘gag clauses’ for Traditional Owner groups.
CCWA Executive Director, Piers Verstegen, said: “Mr McGowan’s move to ban native forest logging will be remembered by future generations as a defining moment in his premiership and has been enthusiastically welcomed by environmental groups and the broader community.
“However, among the celebration, there is still much to be done to tackle critical climate change and conservation issues.
“Woodside’s focus on giant climate-wrecking gas developments like Scarborough is a cause for alarm, as expansion of the WA gas industry continues to drive up carbon pollution at the expense of job-creating renewable energy projects.
“Equally, a state-wide biodiversity conservation strategy is now needed more than ever to prevent any further loss of wildlife and wildlife habitat. We have to stop slicing away at nature before there is nothing left for future generations."
Statements endorsed by delegates at 2021 CCWA Conference
Delegates at the 2021 Conservation Council of WA annual conference:
Congratulate the McGowan Government for announcing an end to native forest logging and a just transition for native forest logging industry workers in the southwest of the state
Call on the WA Parliament to respond to the latest warnings from the world’s climate scientists, including by passing laws that require an immediate reduction in carbon pollution and prevent the development of new fossil fuel developments in Western Australia
Call on the McGowan Government to establish a state-wide biodiversity conservation strategy that prevents any further loss of wildlife habitat and supports investment in ecological restoration across the state
Call on government, industry and community to work together to develop a just transition for workers in gas and other fossil fuel industries which are damaging the climate and holding our economy back, including redeployment of workers in growth industries powered by clean renewable energy
Condemn Woodside for its plans to proceed with the Scarborough gas development and call on investors to withhold capital from this climate-wrecking project which would cause carbon pollution equivalent to 15 coal fired power stations and cause irreversible damage to ancient cultural heritage on the Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga)
Support the Traditional Custodians of Murujuga in their aspiration to ‘work towards reducing the industrial footprint with an ultimate goal of zero industry on Murujuga’
- Call on the WA Parliament to pass laws that place Aboriginal People and Traditional Owners at the centre of decision making on cultural heritage and remove gag clauses for Traditional Owner groups.
MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost non-profit, non-government conservation organisation representing more than 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia.
CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please contact Robert Davies on 08 9420 7291 / 0412 272 570 or by email, [email protected]