Pilbara miners to pay into fund to offset clearing

Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News
New Environment Minister Stephen Dawson in Kings Park today. Photo by Michael Wilson The West Australian
Camera IconNew Environment Minister Stephen Dawson in Kings Park today. Photo by Michael Wilson The West Australian Credit: Picture: Michael Wilson

The State Government will pour $9.3 million into implementing a fund to offset environmental impacts from the clearing of vegetation and fauna in the region.

The Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund will receive contributions from resources and other companies which cannot mitigate the impact of their operations on the environment.

Grant revenue of $13 million will also flow into the fund.

This offset will be used to fund projects such as pest, plant and animal control, fire management, erosion control and habitat improvement.

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Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said a range of conservation projects were already planned or in progress.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Dawson said the fund would expand on existing partnerships between industry, government, agencies and traditional owners.

Greens member for Mining and Pastoral Robin Chapple said the fund was long overdue

“Stephen Dawson as a driver in that area ... I think he has a genuine passion,” he said.

“This will really be a case of making sure it actually has an effect on the ground, that it wont just be consumed by administration.

“The proof will be in the pudding in seeing how that money is expended and in what areas.”

Mr Chapple said he would be concerned if the fund got tied up in bureaucracy.

Fortescue Metals Group, Hamersley Iron, Mount Bruce Mining and BHP will be among the first companies to pay into the fund.

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