The Opposition says the McGowan Government’s attempts to spruik its environmental credentials with respect to mining approvals were farcical given the concerns raised in a damning Auditor-General’s report last year.
Shadow Environment Minister Neil Thomson said Labor’s motion in parliament last week patting itself on the back for efforts “to reduce administrative burdens and supporting best environmental practices to facilitate the extraction of critical minerals for the new mineral economy” was a desperate attempt to change the narrative.
“Their motion flies in the face of the damning report* by the Auditor-General released last December highlighting some of the serious shortfalls in the process,” Mr Thomson said.
The Report made a number of findings, including:
• Government is “not fully effective in ensuring mining projects comply with conditions to limit environmental harm and financial risks to the State”.
• Government’s “monitoring and enforcement currently provide a narrow view of operator compliance and do little to deter operators from breaching conditions.”
• “…despite growth in the mining sector…planned inspection programs have shrunk by 60 per cent or more over the last five years.”
“Western Australia must take full advantage of its unique advantages in mining, including for critical minerals, but this should also be coupled with properly resourced and competent environmental monitoring and rehabilitation efforts, for the sake of future generations,” Mr Thomson said.
“It is clear from recent revelations by the Auditor-General that the McGowan Government cannot be trusted to protect our unique natural environment,” Mr Thomson said.