Senate debates

Tuesday, 11 February 2020


Mining: Burrup Peninsula

8:09 pm

Photo of Jordon Steele-JohnJordon Steele-John (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

On the north-west edge of my great state of Western Australia there exists a remarkable stretch of country: Murujuga, also known as the Burrup Peninsula, the lands for almost 60,000 years or more of the Ngarluma, of the Wong-Goo-Tt-Oo, of the Yaburara and of the Yinjibarndi peoples. This stretch of land is home to one of the great wonders of the world, the Burrup rock-art gallery. This stretch of land is home to one of the great wonders of the world, the Burrup rock art gallery. Stretching back over 60,000 years, they provide some of the earliest glimpses into the coming together of human community on the planet earth. This is a place where people have lived and resisted and maintained culture for generations. It is also a place that has been the scene of great wrongs and injustices done to First Nations peoples by colonial arrivals.

It is now the place upon which a government is seeking to perpetrate yet another great wrong. The Mark McGowan Labor government is promoting, is supporting, is backing in and is backing up nothing more and nothing less than a carbon bomb upon the peninsula. They are seeking to expand the poisonous, toxic gas industry upon the peninsula. They are seeking to increase it by almost 30 per cent in a project known as the Burrup Hub—a name that disguises the absolutely insidious nature and impact of this project. To give anybody watching at home an idea of the scale of this project, of the damage it will do: across its life it will contribute more than four times the emissions of the Adani Carmichael coal project in Queensland—four times the amount of that dirty polluting mine! This project is nothing more and nothing less than a dagger to the heart of climate action. When it is at full scale it will contribute—singularly; on its own—50 per cent of my state's CO2 emissions.

You've got to ask yourself why? Why would a government pursue such a project? Why would they seek to expand a gas industry? Why would they seek to open the door to fracking when the community doesn't want it and the environment can't take it? Why would they seek to do this at the very moment in time when we need to be transitioning away from these dirty industries to a clean energy future? The answer is money—money, pure and simple—from those gas merchants who believe they run our state. I am talking, of course, of the BHPs, of the Chevrons and of the Woodsides.

Let's go through it: between 2012 and the present day, Woodside have donated $771,000 to the Labor Party; Chevron, $277,000; and Shell, nearly $20,000. Woodside alone has been the fourth-biggest contributor to the ALP in that period—fourth! That's what it buys you: the destruction of the Burrup, the destruction of the rock art and a dagger to the heart of the climate action movement. The only party in WA speaking out against this proposal, speaking out against the McGowan government, is the Greens, and we will continue to work with the community in our campaign to stop this project and take climate action.